Beds, Herts & Bucks

F1 Red Bull Racing robbery: Thieves jailed

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Media captionSixty trophies were stolen from Red Bull Racing's factory

Four members of a gang which stole trophies from the Formula 1 Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes have been jailed.

The gang's haul, which also included thefts from cash machines in Surrey, was estimated to be worth £934,000 and the raids caused £317,000 of damage.

The four had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges at Guildford Crown Court.

Their sentences ranged from two years to seven years.

Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption (left to right) Danny Stevens, Paul Smith, Jason Eastwood and Luke Cole have all been jailed

Gang jailed for conspiracy to commit burglary and steal:

  • Danny Stevens, 37, of Hayden Place, Yateley, Hampshire - seven-year sentence
  • Paul Smith, 24, Hearmon Close, Yateley, Hampshire - six-year sentence
  • Jason Eastwood, 41, of Willow Crescent, Farnborough, Hampshire - three years and four months sentence
  • Luke Cole, 24, no fixed address, but formerly of Doncaster - two-year sentence
Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption The balaclava-clad gang's deeds featured on the BBC's Crimewatch television programme

The court heard the gang drove a vehicle through the front doors of Red Bull Racing in December 2014 and took 60 motor racing trophies.

About 20 of the awards were recovered from Horseshoe Lake near Sandhurst in Surrey ten days after the theft.

Many had been damaged, but the stolen items did not include the F1 championship and constructors prize which were not at the factory.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption A car was used to drive through Red Bull Racing's entrance in Milton Keynes

They also carried out nearly 40 burglaries and thefts across the south of England between November last year and April, including the theft of the cash machines at the Atrium shopping centre in Camberley and Mercedes Benz World at Weybridge.

When three of the gang were arrested at a farm in Shurlock Row in Berkshire, the police recovered gas cylinders, fireworks, remote ignition devices and wiring which they had used to attempt to blow open the machines.

"These men put others and themselves at risk in their chaotic and dangerous attempts to access cash machines," said Det Con Matt Earl.

"They are incredibly fortunate not to have seriously injured members of the public who lived near to some of the cash machines, or next to a petrol station where they attempted to blow up one of the ATMs."

Judge Christopher Critchlow said: "This was serious organised crime... that reflected a deliberate, organised, professional conspiracy to burgle and steal."

Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Gas cyclinders and a hammer were among items seized by police when the men were arrested
Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Duffy's stores in Binfield, Berkshire was among the shops raided

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