Scrap metal thieves involved in a burglary in which a hole was smashed through the wall of a Canterbury warehouse have been jailed.
An estimated £25,000 worth of damage was caused to the business premises in Island Road, Hersden, after lights, CCTV cameras, a window and other items were damaged on the evening of Saturday 5 February 2022.
But three of those involved in the raid were quickly tracked down and arrested by Kent Police officers with assistance from a National Police Air Service helicopter.
Marih Ilihca, 39, Costel Coscodaru, 25, and Mihai Florin, 19, have now each been sentenced to two years and seven months’ imprisonment.
The three men, all of no fixed address, were part of a five-strong group that targeted the warehouse in order to steal sacks of copper piping.
Kent Police was called at 9.40pm on the evening of the offences after a security guard received a notification that an alarm had gone off at the premises in Hersden, and checked CCTV to see people inside the building.
Officers and the security guard arrived at the scene a short time later. The offenders were no longer at the site, but an officer saw a group of men running from the area.
A police helicopter then helped track the men as they split up and discarded clothing and other items as they fled. Coscodaru and Ilihca were arrested in Island Road and Florin was arrested in Westbere.
Daytime enquiries at the site showed a hole had been knocked through the wall, CCTV and lights had been damaged and three large bags of scrap copper had been moved to outside the broken security fence.
Footage from a National Police Air Service helicopter shows the five offenders running from the scene before officers are directed to where two were hiding. One man throws an item into bushes as an officer approaches.
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The three men were sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 6 May 2022, having admitted burglary at a previous hearing.
Detective Constable Rebecca Keeler, Kent Police’s investigating officer, said: ‘This group of thieves caused substantial damage to a business premises and would have stolen valuable items to the firm had they not been stopped.
‘I would like to praise the work of officers who attended on the night and, with the help of a police helicopter, tracked down the three men who are now starting prison sentences.
‘The case shows the importance to companies of having good quality CCTV and security procedures in place and I would encourage other firms to review their security arrangements to reduce the risk of being burgled.’
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