A MAN described as a professional burglar has been jailed for his part in a raid on a convenience store that netted more than £30,000.
Garry Harrison and two other men cut telephone cables and disabled CCTV before breaking into the Co-op in Centre Way, Locks Heath, on May 12, 2008.
Once in the store two of the men used oxy-acetylene torches to cut into the back of a cashpoint and break into a safe, while one stayed on watch with a mobile phone outside to warn if police came close. They escaped with £33,240.
The month before, and using a similar technique, the same trio made off with £21,265 from a filling station’s cashpoint in Ringwood.
The three were arrested when they were in a car stopped by police in Southampton on May 19, 2008, and found to have oxy-acetylene cylinders and other equipment for theft with them.
Forensics linked the cylinders to those used in the other burglaries.
Harrison, 39, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of going equipped for theft at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Harrison has 19 previous convictions for 99 offences and served six years for conspiracy to burgle from 1998.
Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘It’s immediately apparent that they were professional burglaries of high-value targets which would have involved a high degree of planning and they were executed with considerable sophistication.’
Harrison had previously gone on the run for a year after failing to answer bail from an earlier court appearance relating to the charges. Anthony Bailey, prosecuting, said: ‘While he was on the run he couldn’t have signed on, so he will be charged later with at least three substantive burglaries and 50 burglaries across Dorset.
‘We say it was by these means that he was able to live while he was on the run.’
Harrison, of Wavendon Avenue in Barton on Sea, was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail. Accomplice Albie Cooper was jailed for six years following a trial last year.
A third man has yet to be brought to court.