Discarded toothbrush leads to gang leader’s jailing


The mastermind behind a series of burglaries carried out over a 46 day period has today pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for his part in a conspiracy to commit burglaries and steal cars from addresses across the Midlands, Cheshire, North Wales and Buckinghamshire.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard how between 2 June 2012 and 17 July 2012, 27-year-old Jerry Berry and his gang targeted homes across the country stealing cash, jewellery and high value cars from home owners.

Many of the burglaries were committed while the occupants were present, both at night and during the day.

Berry and his associates would break into the property and steal items of value. Where they spotted that the householder was in a possession of a high value car, they would locate the car keys and then steal the occupant's car.

These cars would later be abandoned, either destroyed by fire or damaged.

On 16 July 2012, a home in Shropshire was burgled and the owner's high performance Audi motor vehicle was stolen. On 22 July 2012, this vehicle, being driven by Berry, was involved in a road traffic collision on the A41 in Chester. The defendant fled the scene of the crash. However, he left behind in the car his mobile phone and a toothbrush, which were examined and both linked to Berry.

The defendant was later arrested and charged with offences of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to steal, theft and dangerous driving to which he has today pleaded guilty to and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

Over the two month period, Berry's gang burgled homes in Cheshire, Shropshire, North Wales, Wolverhampton and Buckinghamshire.

Members of the gang were later convicted for their part in burglaries.

Emily Colley, Senior Crown Prosecutor from CPS West Midlands, said: "During 46 days of summer last year, Jerry Berry and his gang, which consisted of his family members, preyed on householders across the country in order to steal their personal belongings from their homes.

"They targeted properties across a huge geographical area within a very short space of time. Some of his victims were elderly and frail pensioners.

"During the crime spree, the gang, led by Berry, also entered peoples' homes in order to steal keys to the occupant's high value motor vehicles. Having then stolen the cars, Berry and his associates would dispose of them by fire or abandon them.

"Following one such burglary, Berry caused a road traffic accident while driving a stolen vehicle. Although he made good his escape from the scene, he left behind a mobile phone and a toothbrush, which were forensically examined and provided the vital evidence linking him to the stolen car.

"The police were then able to match other evidence from the scenes of the burglaries to Berry and he was later arrested, charged and today sentenced to seven years.

"This has been a very complex and challenging prosecution which has involved CPS West Midlands working closely with five separate police forces. I would like to take this opportunity to  thank all involved with this prosecution by assisting us to bring this gang and in particular the co-ordinator of all of these offences, Jerry Berry, to justice."