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Millionaire Dake Vince helped his son Sam snare teenagers

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

Millionaire businessman Dale Vince, who claims he 'snared' burglars by buying back goods they were selling on eBay, which he claims came from his home PICTURE: SWNS

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Millionaire Dale Vince and his son Sam helped snare teenagers who broke into their garage and stole thousands of pounds worth of belongings.

Mr Vince is chairman of Forest Green Rovers Football Club and boss of green energy firm Ecotricity.

His son Sam Vince-Lane told a jury yesterday he and his dad searched through eBay to see if they could find the distinctive snowboard taken from their Rodborough home.

Sam said: "Dad approached me with the idea. We found the bag that looked identical to the one I had and in the description it talked about the wear and tear. We used my girlfriend's account to pay the bidder and arranged to meet the owner outside a cycling shop in Stroud. We arranged for the police to go as well."

Gloucester Crown Court heard Jack Cole, now 18, met with Sam and was arrested as part of the sting on April 12, 2012.

The teenager and his friend Kieran Marshall both admitted their parts in the burglary but claim Jack's dad, Richard Cole, put them up to it.

The court heard Cole, 49, who worked as a builder for the energy tycoon, sent the boys, then both aged just 16, to the house between February 20 and March 31 2012 with a list of goods to steal.

Mr Marshall told the jury Richard Cole directed the boys so they avoided turning on the security lights when they stole goods including a quad bike, remote control helicopters and snowboarding equipment. He told the jury at one point a dog walker came along and they were ordered to "hit the floor" by Cole.

Jack Cole broke down in tears as he gave evidence against his father. He said: "He asked me to lie, to change my statement, to get him off this. I said I can't, I cannot lie."

Richard Cole, of Tower Road South, Bristol, denies conspiracy to burgle Mr Vince's home as well as handling stolen goods.

Jack Cole and Kieran Marshall both admitted their parts previously and were given police cautions for burglary with intent to steal.

The trial, brought by Mr Vince as a private prosecution, continues.

Prosecutor Richard Shepherd told the jury that although the case is being brought privately by Mr Vince it will be run in just the same way as if it was brought in the normal way by the State.

The burglars of Mr Vince's home were Jack Cole and Kieran Marshall – but the prosecution case was they were doing it for Cole, said Mr Shepherd.

"The two lads have admitted to their part in being involved in this conspiracy," he said.

"They have admitted their part in the burglary of the house, North Wind, on Rodborough Common.

"They will tell you the part that they played in the conspiracy. Imagine the courage it takes for a son, a young man in his late teens, to give evidence against his father.

"You will hear that they went to this property on more than one occasion and that once Mr Cole went with them and took things away in his builder's van. He directed operations, sending the boys back to retrieve specific items from the garage."

The case continues.

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