A proactive stop by a Kent Police patrol has resulted in prison sentences for two burglars who targeted properties in west Kent and London.
On 3 March 2020, staff at a charity based in Ruskin Park, London discovered their premises had been broken into overnight. The thieves had stolen 27 power tools and a generator from a secure shipping container, before leaving in one of the charity’s transit vans.
Later the same day, a patrol stopped a different transit van on Heath Road, Maidstone containing Jason Holloway, Davey Chambers and Charlie Hilden. In the rear of the vehicle the officers found a large quantity of power tools and a generator.
Holloway claimed he had bought them at an auction and on a social media website. The officers could not identify where tools had come from at that stage but, suspecting they were stolen, seized them while further enquiries were completed.
Power tools seized
Eleven of the seized power tools were later identified as having been stolen from the Ruskin Park charity.
23 mountain bikes stolen
On 16 April, a cycle hire business at Bedgebury Park had 23 mountain bikes stolen from a shipping container overnight. CCTV at the scene identified a transit van used to take bikes from the scene and this was later found by police in Maidstone. Examination of the vehicle found it had false number plates and was in fact the van stolen from the charity in Ruskin Park.
Investigators were able to prove that Holloway had been in the vicinity of both burglaries when they were committed and a search warrant was executed at his home address on 27 April. Officers arrested him and seized clothing at the property that matched items worn by one of the offenders on CCTV footage at the Bedgebury break-in.
Chambers was arrested during a search warrant at his address on the same day while 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 burglary at Ruskin Park and theft of the charity’s transit van.
Holloway was also charged with the break-in at Bedgebury and Chambers with a burglary at Wrotham Secondary School on 28 January 2020.
The three men pleaded guilty to all the counts at Maidstone Crown Court. On Friday 8 July 2022, 32-year-old Holloway received three years and four months’ imprisonment and Chambers, aged 32, was jailed for two years and six months. Hilden, aged 41, received a sentence of two years in prison, suspended for two years.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Alex Peacock, said: ‘These men are prolific criminals who have been preying on premises during the hours of darkness. They have caused considerable damage during the course of the break-ins and the losses suffered by some of those targeted will have had a considerable impact on their ability to continue trading.
‘It is appropriate that two of these criminals are now behind bars to protect those who are honestly trying to earn a living.’