South East Wales

Pair jailed for pug pup theft in Abergavenny

Thomas Stokes, 47, and son Martin, 23, Image copyright Gwent Police

A father and son have been jailed for the violent theft of a pedigree pug puppy from a dog breeder in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.

Thomas Stokes, 47, and son Martin, 23, posed as potential buyers for three of the dogs before punching Liz Swain and fleeing with a puppy valued at £1,200.

Thomas Stokes told Mrs Swain he wanted to buy a puppy as a surprise for his daughter, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

But he struck her when she tried to stop them leaving with the dogs.

Her victim personal statement was read to the court in which she said the incident had had a "profound effect on my life" and had left her an "absolute wreck".

Previous convictions

After arriving at Mrs Swain's home, the men picked up three of the puppies and asked if they could take them to their car.

But Mrs Swain tried to block the men from leaving and was then punched in the face by Thomas Stokes.

The court heard Mrs Swain fell while trying to chase the men.

Thomas Stokes from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, who had recently been living on a traveller site in Newport, was sentenced to five years in prison for admitting theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Martin Stokes from Derbyshire was sentenced to 10 months in prison for admitting conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Image copyright Wales News Service

Thomas Stokes had 23 previous convictions, while his son had 30 previous convictions, the court was told.

In sentencing, Judge Patrick Curran QC told the defendants: "It is well known pedigree dogs fetch high prices. You planned the offence with the prospect of making a significant gain for yourself. You were quite prepared to use any degree of force."

'Stoop this low'

After the hearing, Det Con Mark Price, who led the investigation for Gwent Police, said: "This was one of the lowest forms of criminal behaviour I have had to deal with.

"The offenders have gone to the victim's home on the pretence of buying a puppy and when it was evident that the victim was alone and vulnerable, she was assaulted and the pug was stolen.

"The pugs are the victim's life and she bravely decided that the criminals were not getting away with it. In the struggle, she was punched in the face, requiring hospital treatment."

He added: "Today, the judge has handed down sentences which show the seriousness of the offence and I hope it shows that criminals that stoop this low will always get what they deserve."

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