Bungling Bedford burglars 'like the Marx Brothers'

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico and Harpo pictured left to right) were a legendary US comedy troupe who appeared in Vaudeville theatre before making movies

Bungling burglars who unwittingly filmed themselves in a stolen getaway car were likened in court to the farcical Marx Brothers.

An argument between James Lake, 43, and Peter Moran, 55, as they tried to find the handbrake was captured on a camera in a taxi they stole during a house burglary in Bedford in 2019.

Footage of them arguing was left in the abandoned car.

Lake was jailed for 40 months and Moran given a suspended sentence.

Lake, Moran, and a third man who failed to answer bail, broke into the house in Hurst Grove in the early hours of 19 September, and made a getaway in the homeowner's taxi.

'You're the car thief, mate'

Dashcam footage showed Lake and Moran having a protracted argument when neither could find the handbrake.

In an expletive-filled exchange, Lake repeatedly shouted "where's the... handbrake?" to which Moran eventually replied: "I don't... know. You're the car thief, mate."

Lake also reversed into another car on the driveway.

image copyrightBedfordshire Police
image captionThe judge said Lake (pictured) and Moran were "both plainly under the influence of drink and drugs that night"

During the journey the camera captured several arguments and a fight as Lake was hit in the mouth and accused Moran of trying to bite him.

The car was abandoned in St Johns Street, Bedford.

Lake, of Crescent Road, Luton, admitted burglary.

Moran, of Elgar Path, Luton, was found guilty of burglary following a trial in November, during which prosecutor Daniel Wright told the the jury the footage they had seen of them trying to get the car started was like a scene from a Marx Brothers film.

Luton Crown Court heard that the pair had long histories of drug abuse which had lead to their offending over the years.

Judge Gary Lucie told them: "I found it quite sickening to watch the pair of you gloating about what you were up to."

Ahead of being jailed, Lake asked for 69 other burglaries between 1995 and 2017 to be taken into consideration. Moran was handed a two-year sentence, suspended for 18 months.

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