Fraudsters jailed for hotel burglaries

30/05/2014

Two men from Coventry have today been jailed for a total of nine years at Warwick Crown Court after they pleaded guilty to a string of hotel room burglaries across the country which resulted in them defrauding the victims out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Between November 2012 and December 2013, Jason Richards, aged 42 and Finbah Brewer, 41, targeted 18 high class hotels in the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Cumbria, Lincolnshire and Surrey areas.

They would first steal the master key for the hotel rooms and then enter rooms where the guests were staying, stealing the victim's bank cards and any cash which they could find in the room.

Many of the victims would then receive a telephone call from the defendants or their criminal associates pretending to be their bank to report a suspicious transaction on their account. As a form of verification, they would ask for the victim to confirm their PIN number. Some of the victims disclosed this information while others became suspicious and informed the relevant authorities.

Over a 12 month period, the duo stole cash, property and fraudulently used the victim's cards to obtain cash, foreign currency and designer clothing.

Following a police investigation, Richards and Brewer were identified and arrested. Various hotel master keys were found on their possession as well as property stolen in the burglaries.

They were both charged with and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle dwellings and conspiracy to defraud. Richards was sentenced to four years and three months and Brewer to five years.

Andy Gee, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: 

"These offences and the defendant's previous convictions for identical offences demonstrate that they are professional career criminals who travelled around the UK targeting hotels in order to burgle guest rooms and steal their bank cards and then ultimately defraud the hotel guests.

"Both were well dressed and confident, and in most cases were able to walk around the hotels they targeted without arousing the suspicions of staff or guests.

"Once Jason Richards and Finbah Brewer had stolen the bank cards and obtained the PINs, they or their criminal associates would then withdraw the victim's cash from ATM machines and over the counter at the bank, and use the cards to buy goods.

"We hope this prosecution reminds the public to keep their personal belongings safe at all times and never disclose personal information to anyone who has cold called them. Always remain vigilant and if you are in doubt about a caller's identification, either call your financial provider directly or inform the relevant authorities.

"The CPS will now take steps to recover the amount stolen."