Pair who went on 48-hour crime spree across Hedge End and Chandler's Ford sent to prison

Daily Echo: Benjamin Peace (left) and Michael Antram Benjamin Peace (left) and Michael Antram

IT WAS a planned attack that brought misery to two Hampshire neighbourhoods.

Under the cover of darkness, the gang crept through streets and cul-de-sacs as residents slept, targeting unlocked cars and stealing whatever they could find inside.

In just two nights, their spree saw them steal £7,260 worth of items from more than 20 vehicles in Hedge End and Chandler’s Ford.

But today Michael Antram and Benjamin Peace, who sat laughing in court when their long list of previous convictions were read out, are laughing no more – having been sent to prison for two-and-a-half-years for what a judge called a “carefully planned and carefully executed” attack.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Antram, 22 and Peace, 21, first targeted Hedge End, overnight on September 27, having got the train from Leigh Park.

When they arrived at Hedge End train station they embarked on a five-hour stealing spree on foot, taking whatever they could find from 12 vehicles, including satellite navigation systems, an iPad and any loose change.

Not content with their haul from that night, less than 48 hours later the pair were at it again, this time with an accomplice, Shane Britton.

Overnight on September 29, the trio headed to Chandler’s Ford by train and began as they did two nights previously, targeting unsecured cars.

After moving around the area on foot, they then stole a Ford Transit van from Porteous Crescent, which contained £1,600 worth of tools.

Unbeknown to them, the van was hired and had a tracker fitted, which later led police to the abandoned vehicle, just a short walk away from Peace’s home in Crawley Avenue, Portsmouth.

The tracker also showed that the vehicle had been driven by the trio around Chandler’s Ford as they continued their six-hour crime spree, stealing from a total of nine cars that night and the tools from the van.

As well as the evidence from the tracker, mobile phone evidence from the defendant’s phones proved that they had been in both Hedge End and Chandler’s Ford on the nights in question and they were arrested on October 2.

In mitigation, Matthew Jewell, representing Antram, who had 29 previous offences, told the court that the 22-year-old from Portsmouth was out to fund his alcohol and drug habit.

While Louise Howard, representing Peace, who had 86 pervious offences starting from the age of 14, said that he was “simply struggling for money”.

Apart from a few discarded items found by the victims close to their homes, only a Superdry jacket was ever recovered by police.

Both men pleaded guilty and Judge Linda Sullivan QC sentenced both to 15 months in prison for the first night and 15 months for the second night, each to run consecutively.

She said: “You set about thieving from cars, all of which appeared to be insecure and enabled you to search them and take whatever you chose from things that had any worth.

“You were operating in a gang or group or whatever you want to call it and there clearly was a degree of planning, I do not accept this was spontaneous.

“These offences were not spontaneous but were carefully planned and carefully executed with a calmness that allowed you to go to shops and steal a car to allow you to carry out more offences.”

Britton, 23, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 24 months.

After the hearing, PC Alex Fortune urged car owners to ensure that their vehicles were locked at all times and not to leave anything of value inside them. He added: “These were co-ordinated sprees targeting insecure vehicles.

“They were there to steal and the effect it had on the victims was huge. One person lost their work briefcase and one man had all his work tools stolen.”

Comments (17)

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10:31am Sat 8 Mar 14

mickey01 says...

simply struggling for money ! what a total tos**r i bet some of these people representing them must embarrassed by their excuses
simply struggling for money ! what a total tos**r i bet some of these people representing them must embarrassed by their excuses mickey01
  • Score: 30

11:12am Sat 8 Mar 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

IMO the sentences are pathetically weak, they will only resume their thefts the moment they get out, which no doubt won't be long in coming, they should be made to compensate their victims financially, that would be a good way to slow down their drink and drug habits. They have made other peoples lives a misery so they should experience the same kind of misery themselves.
IMO the sentences are pathetically weak, they will only resume their thefts the moment they get out, which no doubt won't be long in coming, they should be made to compensate their victims financially, that would be a good way to slow down their drink and drug habits. They have made other peoples lives a misery so they should experience the same kind of misery themselves. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 22

12:12pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Bobs Your Uncle ? says...

the bill for all the damage should come out of their benefits /wage when they get out.
the bill for all the damage should come out of their benefits /wage when they get out. Bobs Your Uncle ?
  • Score: 22

12:12pm Sat 8 Mar 14

southampton man 12345 says...

if i was the judge i would of gave them an extra year for being from pompy hahaha
if i was the judge i would of gave them an extra year for being from pompy hahaha southampton man 12345
  • Score: 3

12:27pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Sir Ad E Noid says...

Good to see that the sentencing was consecutively not concurrent.
Good to see that the sentencing was consecutively not concurrent. Sir Ad E Noid
  • Score: 16

1:37pm Sat 8 Mar 14

florida saint says...

grubby little skate tw@ts...
grubby little skate tw@ts... florida saint
  • Score: 22

2:06pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Mary80 says...

Clearly sending them to jail is a waste of time if they DON'T learn to stop being thieves
Clearly sending them to jail is a waste of time if they DON'T learn to stop being thieves Mary80
  • Score: -8

3:09pm Sat 8 Mar 14

acid drop says...

hang em high
hang em high acid drop
  • Score: 14

3:32pm Sat 8 Mar 14

hassan talbot says...

CUT HAND OFF
CUT HAND OFF hassan talbot
  • Score: 12

5:57pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Bassett-Mikey says...

There are times when Sharia law becomes extremely attractive - ideal for these people...it would definitely stop them keeping their thieving hands in other folks property...
There are times when Sharia law becomes extremely attractive - ideal for these people...it would definitely stop them keeping their thieving hands in other folks property... Bassett-Mikey
  • Score: 7

6:40pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Zexagon says...

People still leave sat navs and iPads in cars?
People still leave sat navs and iPads in cars? Zexagon
  • Score: 7

7:50pm Sat 8 Mar 14

motorizer says...

SCUM... hope they are asked to pick up the soap in the prison showers!!
SCUM... hope they are asked to pick up the soap in the prison showers!! motorizer
  • Score: 9

8:02pm Sat 8 Mar 14

mickey01 says...

Zexagon wrote:
People still leave sat navs and iPads in cars?
and by the looks of it unlocked too , i bet the insurance companies refuse to pay up
[quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: People still leave sat navs and iPads in cars?[/p][/quote]and by the looks of it unlocked too , i bet the insurance companies refuse to pay up mickey01
  • Score: 4

2:35am Sun 9 Mar 14

kiz.bartlett says...

Addiction playing card? Oh how new it is.

If you cannot afford your addiction, help is free. There is no excuse to take away other peoples possesions for your own personal gain.
Addiction playing card? Oh how new it is. If you cannot afford your addiction, help is free. There is no excuse to take away other peoples possesions for your own personal gain. kiz.bartlett
  • Score: 5

6:19am Sun 9 Mar 14

freakout says...

Prison won't help these 2 pieces od s%%t .They will come out and repeat what they have already done numerous times before .
Cut there hands off!
Prison won't help these 2 pieces od s%%t .They will come out and repeat what they have already done numerous times before . Cut there hands off! freakout
  • Score: 2

10:43am Sun 9 Mar 14

gilbertratchet says...

Bobs Your Uncle ? wrote:
the bill for all the damage should come out of their benefits /wage when they get out.
Yes. They won't simply return to crime that way, will they? Idiot.
[quote][p][bold]Bobs Your Uncle ?[/bold] wrote: the bill for all the damage should come out of their benefits /wage when they get out.[/p][/quote]Yes. They won't simply return to crime that way, will they? Idiot. gilbertratchet
  • Score: -2

3:12am Mon 10 Mar 14

Old Boscombe Lad says...

You'd better what your back when you're in jail.
You'd better what your back when you're in jail. Old Boscombe Lad
  • Score: 0

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