Two burglars who targeted properties in west Kent and London were sentenced to prison after a proactive stop by a Kent Police patrol.
Staff at a charity in Ruskin Park, London, discovered their premises had been broken into overnight on March 3, 2020. Before fleeing in one of the charity’s transit vans, the thieves stole 27 power tools and a generator from a secure shipping container.
Later that day, a patrol stopped another transit van on Heath Road in Maidstone, which was carrying Jason Holloway, Davey Chambers, and Charlie Hilden. The officers discovered a large number of power tools and a generator in the back of the vehicle.
Holloway claimed to have purchased them at an auction and through a social media website. Officers were unable to determine where the tools came from at the time, but suspected they were stolen and seized them while further investigations were conducted.
Eleven of the seized power tools were later identified as belonging to the charity Ruskin Park.
On the 16th of April, 23 mountain bikes were stolen from a shipping container at Bedgebury Park. A transit van used to transport bikes from the scene was identified by CCTV at the scene and was later discovered by police in Maidstone. The vehicle was discovered to have false number plates and to be the van stolen from the charity in Ruskin Park.
Holloway was found to be in the vicinity of both burglaries when they occurred, and a search warrant was executed at his home address on April 27. Officers apprehended him and seized clothing that matched items worn by one of the offenders in CCTV footage from the Bedgebury break-in.
On the same day, Chambers was arrested during a search warrant at his home, and Hilden was also detained.
Holloway of James Whatman Way, Maidstone, Chambers of Oriel Grove, Maidstone, and Hilden of Hampstead Lane, Nettlestead were later charged with the Ruskin Park burglary and theft of the charity’s transit van.
Holloway was also charged with a Bedgebury break-in and Chambers with a Wrotham Secondary School burglary on January 28, 2020.
At Maidstone Crown Court, the three men pleaded guilty to all charges. Holloway, 32, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison on June 8, 2022, and Chambers, 32, was sentenced to two years and six months. Hilden, 41, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years.
‘These men are prolific criminals who have been preying on premises during the hours of darkness,’ said the investigating officer, Detective Constable Alex Peacock. They caused significant damage during the break-ins, and the losses suffered by some of those targeted will have had a significant impact on their ability to continue trading.
‘It is fitting that two of these criminals are now behind bars to protect those who are trying to earn a living honestly.’