Top judge upholds Kirkby thief’s jail sentence

Lincoln Crown Court G120131-3
Lincoln Crown Court G120131-3

A Kirkby man who ended up in jail after travelling to Lincolnshire for the targeted theft of a Land Rover worth less than £3,000 has failed to convince top judges his sentence was too long.

Paul Stephen Gregory (42), of Berry Avenue, and two others went after the vehicle, which was kept on a locked driveway, after spotting it for sale on eBay in February last year.

He admitted theft and breaching a previously imposed suspended sentence order and was jailed for 28 months at Lincoln Crown Court in November last year.

On Monday, three senior judges in London rejected his claims he had been hard done by and upheld the ‘entirely just’ sentence.

The court was told that Gregory drove in his car with the others to the cottage where the Land Rover was parked, just off the A1 in Lincolnshire.

They cut through gate bolts, then used a cut seatbelt to tow it away silently, before hot-wiring it and heading off.

A police officer spotted them after they moved onto the M1 and gave chase. Gregory and his passenger stopped in his car and were arrested while the man driving the stolen Land Rover was caught later.

Five weeks before the theft, Gregory had been given a two-month suspended sentence for threatening behaviour and been ordered to undertake a thinking skills programme.

On Monday, his lawyers argued that it was wrong to order him to serve those two months - consecutive to 26 months for the car theft - because he had completed the programme and attended most of his meetings with a probation officer.

But Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Griffith Williams and Judge Neil Ford QC said the judge had been entitled to make him serve the term, given his inability to learn from his mistakes.

“This was an offence committed by a professional criminal,” he said.

“The offence of theft was committed within five weeks of the imposition of the suspended sentence order.

“The appellant had not learned from previous breaches of orders of the court and it seems to us it was entirely just that the appellant should serve this short period of imprisonment consecutively.”

After upholding the 28-month total term, the judges also dismissed Gregory’s appeal against a three-year driving ban he also received.