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Shoe print provided vital clue in £20k jewellery raid

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

BEHIND BARS: Drug addict Gary Bennett has been jailed after jewellery worth £20,000 was stolen from Sparkford

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A Yeovil drug addict responsible for a £20,000 burglary at a rural home has been jailed for two years.

Gary Bennett, 22, of Mayfield Road, was caught by police after an observant passer-by noted his car number and his shoe print was found at the scene.

The “relatively isolated” house at Sparkford was broken into on October 10 while the owner was out for about 90 minutes. She returned to find a utility room door had been badly damaged and jewellery was missing, Taunton Crown Court was told.

A witness later reported seeing a man getting out of a car near the property and took its number.

The car belonged to a friend of Bennett, who was then seen driving it by police who found he owned a pair of shoes which matched the print they found, said Caroline Bolt, prosecuting.

Bennett admitted burglary and said he had been on his way to get drugs when he saw a woman leaving the house and decided to break in because he owed money.

He said he went to the rear door, pulled on a door and the frame came out of the wall. He went in and took some jewellery and gave a quarter of it to his drug dealer and discarded the rest. He disputed it was worth £15,000 to £20,000.

Rebecca Bradberry, defending, suggested the value was £6,000 and requested an adjournment for him to be assessed for drug rehabilitation.

Recorder Jonathan Fuller QC said he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and also asked for 18 other offences to be taken into consideration, including three domestic burglaries and an attempted burglary.

Bennett claimed the jewellery was worth £6,000 but the judge added: “I am bound to say the owner is the best person to address what the value was.”

He said Bennett showed a high degree of co-operation with the police and a pre-sentence report showed he was deeply remorseful for what he had done.

He also had a long-standing drug habit which he was battling, but the judge said his addiction was no excuse. Bennett had no previous convictions for burglary but only a custodial sentence could be justified, and he was jailed for two years.

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