A SLOUGH man has been locked up after burgling smashing and raiding three Co-op shops in the space of a month.

Liam Brown, of Hemming Way, smashed the windows of convenience stores in Abingdon, Farnborough and Pangbourne with drain covers in August and September 2021.

He worked with two accomplices to raid the stores of thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes before the group was eventually caught.

Brown, 24, was today jailed for the burglaries which a judge said were a ‘big deal’ for the community.

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The first burglary occurred on August 4, 2021, when Brown and two others raided the Co-op in Abingdon.

The trio used a drain cover to smash the store’s window and gain entry to the shop and used a crowbar to open the Co-op’s cigarette cupboard.

They stole £1,700 of cigarettes but caused £1,900 of damage to the shopfront and the Co-op lost £4,000 in trade due to its ensuing closure.

A Mercedes the group got away in was found abandoned in a Slough doctor’s surgery the following morning with fake number plates attached.

On August 27, 2021, the same group targeted a Co-op in Farnborough where they again smashed open the store’s window with a drain cover.

A crowbar was again used to snatch cigarettes and this time the group stole £9,000 worth of goods including alcohol.

£790 in cash was also taken from the store’s cash register.

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The third and final raid came on September 2 when the windows of the Co-op store in Pangbourne was smashed open again using a drain cover.

Reading Chronicle: The Pangbourne store that was raidedThe Pangbourne store that was raided

Like with the previous two burglaries, the trio used a Selco builder’s bag to carry the stolen cigarettes and goods away with them.

On this occasion, the trio stole £5,000 worth of cigarettes.

They made off in a Volkswagen Tiguan which was later discovered by police.

Officers found a blood stain which matched the DNA of Liam Brown and his property was searched and he was arrested.

Adam Pearson, prosecuting, said Brown had previous convictions for criminal damage, possession with intent to supply class A drugs, and assault occassioning actual bodily harm, for which he was jailed in 2017.

Fabienne Macey, defending, said Brown was “very sorry” to be back before the court.

“He thought he had turned his life around. He has let himself down”, the defence barrister said.

Ms Macey pleaded with His Honour Judge Dugdale to suspend Brown’s prison sentence after she claimed her client had shown in the past that he can “stay out of trouble.”

But Judge Dugdale waved away the appeal and said the offending was a “catastrophe”, adding: “I don’t know how he thought he would get away with this.”

He added: “Here you have someone who has previous convictions for very serious offending in 2017.

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“You have gone from that to getting involved in what appears to be fairly serious organised crime.

“This not just people going to Co-op and stealing a few cigarettes. It is not small beer.

“It is quite serious crime you got yourself mixed up in.

“Co-op shops serve their communities in ways other shops don’t.

“They tend to serve people who can’t get out to other shops.

“When those shops were burgled they had to shut down.

“That is a big deal for some people.

“I’m afraid this these offences are so serious that they cross the custody threshold.”

Brown was handed a 30-month prison sentence for three counts of burglary at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday, March 1.

No orders for compensation were made despite the huge cost of the damage caused by the burglaries.