Jail for hook and cane car theft gang

Car thief Craig Prescott
Car thief Craig Prescott

A CAR theft gang’s reign of misery has ended with prison sentences.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that vehicles – some of them high-performance – were taken during 11 burglaries around Wigan in which a hook and cane was used to retrieve the keys through windows and letter boxes.

The two key figures in the gang were Dwayne Madden, who was jailed for five years four months, and Craig Prescott who was locked up for three years and banned from driving for three years. Both young men had admitted conspiracy to burgle and Christopher Cross, who pleaded guilty to two specific burglary offences received 14 months but this was suspended for two years.

The hearing was told that among the vehicles taken were a powerful Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars as well as property from the targeted homes.

Keith Sutton, prosecuting, detailing the raids said that the first raid involving 22-year-old Madden, of Enid Place, Bamfurlong, and

Prescott, 26, of Kent Avenue, Platt Bridge, took place last year.

A house in Wayfarers Drive, Newton-le-Willows was burgled and a VW Golf and a Mercedes E class driven away. Two weeks later a laptop was stolen from a house in Redbrook Road, Lower Ince and a Vauxhall Astra taken.

The car was later discovered bearing false registration plates just 500m from Madden’s home.

They also struck in Kendal Street, Wigan, and took a television, laptop, mobile phones and the keys for a VW Polo which they escaped in.

Property was taken from premises in Delph Street, Wigan and a Ford Transit taken and in Manley Street, Golborne they stole two cars, a Honda CRV and a Nissan Micra.

Mr Sutton said in a day time burglary a laptop, cash, jewellery and an iPhone were taken from a house in Baker Street, Poolstock, and on March 25 a Mercedes 180 and cash was stolen from a property in Elizabethan Drive, Ince.

From Willow Lodge in Wigan the two men broke in overnight April 6 and 7 and stole £2,860 but the police arrived while the burglary was taking place. They fled but Madden was chased and caught.

After a burglary in Greenfields Crescent, Ashton, a Vauxhall Insignia Sri and a VW Polo were taken. They were driven away in convoy but the Vauxhall being driven by Prescott crashed into a bus shelter. He leapt out and jumped into the Polo but was later arrested after his DNA was found on the air bag of the Vauxhall.

Mr Sutton told the court that the offences involving 21-year-old Cross, also of Enid Place, took place in Shepperton Avenue, Wigan in April last year when a Mercedes E200 was taken and on a later occasion in Hall Lane, Hindley, when a black Audi TT and a BMW 5 were stolen.

Property worth a total of £38,000 was also taken including jewellery and mobile phones. CCTV later showed Cross driving one of the vehicles into a car park in Golborne.

Also before the court for sentence was Madden’s partner, 27-year-old Natasha Prescott, who shared his home. She pleaded guilty to handling and was jailed for 10 months.

Jailing the two main defendants Judge David Aubrey, QC, said that they were serious offences involving homes, some at night time when the occupiers were present.

He told Cross that he was suspending the sentence as he had played a lesser role and he was vulnerable. “Pressure had been brought to bear on you to commit these offences.”

He imposed a six-month curfew on him between 8pm 7am and placed him under supervision for 18 months with attendance on a probation course.