Newcastle burglar who raided golf club has sentence cut

A DRUGS mule who ransacked a Northumberland golf course and stole more than £20,000 worth of historic trophies has had his sentence cut.

A DRUGS mule who ransacked a Northumberland golf course and stole more than £20,000 worth of historic trophies has had his sentence cut.

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Lee O’Brien was sent to prison last year for helping to orchestrate a drugs network that saw Class A drugs moved between Merseyside and Newcastle.

While on bail, he raided the Bamburgh Castle Golf Club, disarming CCTV cameras and smashing a display cabinet to steal thousands of pounds worth of silverware.

None of the prizes have ever been recovered, but the bases were eventually returned to the golf club by a man who found them in his garden. The 27-year-old was jailed for eight and a half years at Leeds Crown Court in August last year after he admitted burgling the golf club, plus counts of supplying or possessing heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.

Jailed alongside O’Brien was Peter Anthony Greenhill, 38, of Holy Cross, North Tyneside, who was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine and ecstasy.

Lord Justice Richards, sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Judge Stephen Kramer at the Court of Appeal, refused to reduce Greenhill’s sentence, saying he had played a “fundamental role” in the drugs plot.

But the court cut O’Brien’s sentence to seven years after noting his lesser involvement.

O’Brien, of St Ives Way on the Cheviot View Estate, Newcastle, who resorted to crime to throw off mounting debts, was arrested after his van was searched by police on a return trip from Liverpool.

Detectives who had mounted an intensive covert surveillance operation discovered cocaine worth £26,000 in his van, the court heard, plus nearly 1,000 ecstasy tablets.

O’Brien used his home as a den to stash ecstasy, cocaine and heroin after Peter Greenhill forged an allegiance with Liverpudlian crime lord Matthew Lovell following a chance meeting in prison. Greenhill became Lovell’s “gym mentor” during prison stints for drug offences.

Whilst on bail for the drugs offences, he targeted the golf course to steal the Souter Ladies Scratch competition trophy, which was worth more than £14,000 and dates back to the 1930s.

The cigarette box-shaped trophy has an enamel sculpture of Bamburgh Castle. None of the pieces have been recovered.

During the court case last year, O’Brien’s then-partner Yvonne Sayers, 23, of Molineux Close, Byker, Newcastle, was sentenced to 10 months, suspended for a year, after admitting a charge of possession with intent to supply 10,000 BZP tablets.

Greenhill, 37, of South Parade, Whitley Bay, was sentenced to eight and a half years after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and ecstasy and conspiracy to supply BZP.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
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