Brothers who stole £44k in string of raids have to pay back just £1 each
BROTHERS who pocketed £44,000 during a string of smash-and-grab raids have been ordered to pay back just £1 each.
Darren Winfield, 28, and his brother Ricki, 23, were members of a gang involved in at least 14 raids across the East Midlands – including three at Tesco in Market Rasen, netting £50,000 worth of cigarettes and cash.
The group, wearing balaclavas, used stolen vehicles with false number plates to smash their way into stores at night, scooping up cigarettes.
A court heard how the "well organised" gang of up to seven got away with as much as £10,000 worth of cigarettes at a time, despite only being inside for minutes.
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Darren Winfield was sentenced to three-and half years imprisonment for his role in October last year, while his brother was jailed for three years at the same hearing.
A proceeds of crime hearing at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday heard that they each made a benefit of £22,000 from the raids.
But following an investigation into their finances, neither of the Winfields had any available assets to seize.
Judge Micheal Heath told the brothers he could only make a nominal confiscation order for the sum of £1 each and they would face an extra seven days imprisonment if the sum was not paid within 28 days.
"I'm told the benefit for both of you is £22,000. Neither of you has any assets, the available amount is nil and I make a nominal confiscation order in the sum of £1," he said.
The first raids in Market Rasen was on February 21 last year, when more than £4,000 worth of cigarettes were taken.
They targeted the store again five days later, and the third, on May 20, led to the arrest of three gang members.
Jon Dee, prosecuting, told the sentencing hearing that police identified two cars heading in convoy into Lincolnshire.
One of the vehicles, which had false number plates, was seen around the Tesco garage and soon afterwards the building was raided.
Both cars got away, but police stopped a Fiat Panda arresting the three men inside.
A Co-op in Skegness was raided in March with the raiders dumping their getaway vehicle at Donington where it was later found burned out. Analysis of mobile phones belonging to the Winfields showed that on the night of the raid they were both in the Skegness and Donington areas.
More raids were carried out on newsagents shops and supermarkets in small towns and villages across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
The Winfields, both from Nottingham, admitted conspiracy to commit burglary. A third man, Philip Gordon, 30, also of Nottingham, admitted a single burglary at the Tesco Market Rasen store, and was jailed for 18 months.