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Four men jailed for Whitstable chemist burglary

Four men who admitted stealing perfume worth £1,538 from a chemist in Whitstable High Street have been jailed.

Stephen John Bignall, John Brazil, Sean Alan Reed and John Crittenden were sentenced to a combined total of more than 15 years at Canterbury Crown Court on Tuesday 6 March 2018.

Pleaded guilty

The four men pleaded guilty to burgling the chemist in the early hours of Saturday 30 December 2017.

They used a Peugeot 207 that had been stolen from Watson’s Hill, Sittingbourne, the previous day.

The car was seen parked in Whitstable High Street on the day of the burglary with four men inside, all with their faces covered. Three of the men were seen leaving the car and crossing the road to the chemist while the fourth man drove further down the road.

One of the men used a scaffold-type pole to hit the front door of the business while another carried a mallet. The third was carrying a duvet cover.

Broke window

The men broke the window, entered the chemist and broke cabinets containing bottles of perfumes before using the duvet cover to carry the perfume out.

The Peugeot then pulled up alongside the chemist, the three men got in and the car drove off.

It was sighted in Graveney Road, Faversham, where it made off from patrols. Following a pursuit, the car was abandoned on Faversham Recreation Ground and the four men decamped.

Police dogs were deployed and tracked towards an address on Edward Vinson Drive. Bignall and Reed were found by officers hiding in a garden, Brazil was found hiding in a shed and Crittenden was arrested in an adjacent road.

Crittenden (pictured top right), aged 40, of Laburnham Place, Sittingbourne, also admitted driving a Peugeot 207 in Park Road, Faversham, dangerously, and without a licence or insurance. He was sentenced to 40 months for the Whitstable burglary plus 12 months to run consecutively for the driving offences. He was also disqualified from driving.

Bignall (pictured second from top), aged 37, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 40 months in prison for the burglary plus six months to run consecutively for an unrelated offence of shoplifting.

Reed (pictured third from top), aged 45, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 40 months for the burglary plus 150 days to run consecutively for other unrelated matters.

Brazil (pictured bottom right), aged 28, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 36 months for the burglary and another 180 days to run consecutively for other unrelated matters.

Serious offence

Investigating officer Detective Constable Richard Cordery said: ‘The sentences handed down to the defendants by the court demonstrate the seriousness of the offence.

‘The defendants clearly targeted the premises in the hope of significant financial gain but were apprehended very shortly after the crime thanks to the local knowledge, clear thinking and tenacity of the uniformed officers who attended.

‘I would also like to thank the numerous witnesses who contacted police during the course of the crime and immediately afterwards. This was undoubtedly a shocking and concerning event for members of the public.’

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