Swindon AdvertiserSat nav points the way to gang raids (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Sat nav points the way to gang raids

A GANG member’s satellite navigation revealed the group had planned to raid five other businesses after a botched attempt on a corner store that saw them collared by a PCSO.

John Corcoran was nabbed after a patrolling Police Community Support Officer stumbled on three raiders at the One Stop Shop in Guildford Avenue.

And when the sat nav in the Londoners’car was examined it was found they were going to target five other small businesses in the town.

But after hearing the 29-year-old was trying to turn his life around and had done a few weeks in custody on remand, a judge imposed a suspended sentence and he walked free from court.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how PCSO Alex Pawlowski was behind the shops in the Lawns area at about 11pm on Thursday, February 13.

He saw the men trying to jemmy the security door at the rear of the parade of shops, but they ran off as he summoned assistance.

A police dog handler was brought and tracked down Corcoran hiding behind a skip in a nearby front garden.

When he was arrested he claimed to be homeless and trying to get some sleep but was also found to have some gloves and a black balaclava.

A car on false number plates was also found parked close by and inside the vehicle was a sat nav system.

Police examined it and found not only the details of the One Stop shop they had been trying to get into, but five more small businesses in the town.

Corcoran, of Neasden, north London, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary.

The court heard he had along list of previous convictions including robbery and burglary and was fined for theft less than a month before the incident.

Alex Daymond, defending, said his client had run up a drug debt and was told to take part in the night’s activities to pay off some of it.

He said the father-of-four was not the main player in what took place and was ‘simply along for the ride’.

Passing sentence Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “The three of you were trying to break into the rear of the store.

“You had balaclava, gloves, and to put it in short you were trying to jemmy the door. You and the other two men ran off.

“When the sat nav in the car was examined another five local commercial premises were in the list, as it were. I am satisfied that these were to be targets as well that night.

“You have accumulated a bad record although you are still comparatively young and most of your offending, if not all, arises out of your drug habit.

“In May last year for a similar type of offence which involved a crowbar you were sentenced to six months imprisonment.

“You can't have been at liberty long when in February this year you travelled to Swindon to commit a series of burglaries.

“Now you are prepared to deal with your problems and your wife is prepared to give you a last chance.

“You are saved by the comments in the pre-sentence report from immediate custody and the fact you have spent seven weeks in custody.”

He imposed a 12 month jail term suspended for two years with nine months of supervision and drug treatment.

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