Golf buggy thieves escape jail term

THREE men who stole alcohol from a Northumberland shop and made their getaway on a golf buggy have escaped jail.

THREE men who stole alcohol from a Northumberland shop and made their getaway on a golf buggy have escaped jail.

Alan Steven Tams, 21, of Weardale Avenue, Walker, David Francis, 21 and Wayne Lewis, 21, both of Welbeck Road, were all given nine-month sentences, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to theft, causing damage to motor vehicles and other charges.

Francis and Tams were also ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

Lewis was made to pay costs of £360. A fourth man, Michael Bellerby, 23, of Merton Road, Walker, was sentenced to 18 months for the crime but is already serving seven years for selling firearms. His overall sentence will not increase.

Speaking during sentencing yesterday at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge David Wood said he was taking into account good reports from the probation service and recent good behaviour for his decision not to jail the three.

He added: “But this is the end of the road for you. If there is any more criminal activity you will go to jail for those crimes and for these you have committed.”

The court had earlier heard in July last year the four were camping at Rothbury and had been drinking heavily.

At about 1am they went to buy more beer but on finding the off-licence closed they smashed a window and stole alcohol.

They then damaged several cars before taking a golf buggy, which had a top speed of about 10mph, from a local golf club. Neighbours saw them driving down the road in the buggy and called the police. Officers later found the four hiding in a pipe in a childrens play area.

Tams and Lewis, were also punished for an attempted robbery of a newsagents on Welbeck Road, Walker, in November last year, in which the newsagent suffered cuts and bruises. They pleaded guilty to criminal damage and common assault.

Tams also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of handling stolen goods.

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