THREE men have been jailed for burgling a house in Wargrave.
They broke into the property in High Street on October 21 by kicking in the back door. They then ransacked rooms before escaping with a haul that included a laptop, iPod, watches and two kitchen knives.
They were caught after police stopped their getaway car.
Terry Marsh, 27, of Vanston Place, and Wayne Newman, 33, of Lonesome Way, both London, and Christopher McNorthey, 26, of Calver Close, Wokingham, were sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Monday after admitting burglary.
Newman and Marsh were both jailed for three years while McNorthey received a sentence of three years and three months. All three have previous convictions for theft and burglary.
Getaway driver Scott Leaver, 19, of Frazier Street, London, was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years after admitting burglary. He was also sentenced to a two-year supervision order, 200 hours of unpaid work and a four-month curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am.
The court heard how Leaver drove the men from London to Wargrave in his grandfather’s Fiat Punto just two days after passing his driving test.
Naomi Perry, prosecuting, said: “The whole house was ransacked. Drawers were emptied on to the floor. A bed in an upstairs room was upturned and wardrobes emptied.”
After the burglary, the Fiat was spotted by police who tried to stop the car.
Leaver attempted to escape by driving on the wrong side of High Street and was then pursued by police before turning into the Leander Club car park in Henley, a dead end.
Leaver and Marsh were arrested at the scene while Newman and McNorthey fled and were arrested later.
The car contained boxes of jewellery and a screwdriver and a man’s watch was found on McNorthey.
Sentencing the men, Judge Peter Ross said: “This offence was planned, it wasn’t by chance. You had travelled quite a distance and the purpose of that journey was to commit burglary.
“With the exception of one of you, your records pay testament to your history and that you earn your living by committing crime.
“There was considerable ransacking and it must have provided a truly terrible sight for the occupants when they returned.
“For people to have their homes violated and ransacked is an offence against these people and they often don’t feel comfortable in their homes afterwards.”
Trudi Yeatman, for Leaver, said her client did not know what the other three were intending to do and that he had been burgled himself in 2012.
She said: “He is the baby of the group and has no previous convictions for burglary. The reference from the shop where he has recently gained employment shows a very different side to this young man.”
Judge Ross told Leaver: “I can recognise and accept that you are beginning to rebuild your life. Make no bones about it, one single missed appointment or violation of your curfew and into custody you will go. There will be no more chances.”
The judge also ejected a member of the public from the public gallery for chewing gum and warned the defendants after they attempted to communicate with family members from the dock.