Gang leader jailed after mowing down woman in car during botched TK Maxx theft

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Career criminal Rodney Hoyle has 146 previous convictions to his name.

But the menace to society is now off the streets after being locked up for his latest crime.

Rodney Hoyle

Rodney Hoyle

Hoyle was the mastermind behind a raid on a TK Maxx store in Hedge End that saw him drive into an innocent woman – before ruthlessly reversing over her to make sure of his getaway.

The 37-year-old’s botched attempt to steal up to £1,000 worth of items from the store on September 7 last year with three other gang members ended in disaster – and prison – for him and accomplice Andrew Griffiths at Portsmouth Crown Court.

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The group all played their part in the raid with Hoyle providing a diversion to staff as Griffiths, 50, walked out nonchalantly with a trolley full of unpaid goods.

But the hapless gang was undone by a woman who was wise to their devious antics after spotting the underhand operation while doing her shopping.

However, just as the gang were preparing to make their getaway in the car park, they were thrown a spanner in the works when the brave shopper stepped out into the road to stop them – before she was ploughed into.

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Judge David Melville QC told Hoyle: ‘You were seen by a shopper, who saw a lot of what was going on. She then followed you outside and stood in the car park to take photos.

‘You then got in the car and collided with her. There is some disagreement as to whether you reversed over her but she was left with severe physical and mental injuries.

‘You then made your escape despite being chased by a man who took your number plate. You were later stopped and arrested.’

The woman was left with broken toes, cuts and bruises and concussion from the incident.

Judge Melville told Griffiths: ‘You were the passenger in the vehicle but took a full part in the theft – you pushed the trolley out of the exit gates.’

Hoyle, of Riders Lane, Havant, admitted grievous bodily harm and theft. He was jailed for two years and 11 months.

Griffiths, of Northney Road, Hayling Island, pleaded guilty to theft and was locked up for four months. 

Griffiths’ barrister James Caldwell lodged an appeal shortly after the hearing insisting the sentence was wide of the mark – with a community order appropriate punishment under the guidelines. 

But judge Melville stuck to his guns, arguing it was a ‘determined and professional theft’ with the custodial sentence ‘appropriate’. 

Dishevelled Griffiths, who had been brought up from the holding cell below court to watch the drama, was then sent back down to begin his term.