There will be a full road closure in place tomorrow afternoon as security measures are stepped up for the Gloucester Rugby game. Kingsholm Road will be completely closed from 3pm, and kick off is at 4pm. The Cherry and Whites1 will be playing the Exeter Chiefs in the last match of the season.
With less than 100 tickets remaining in the Shed, it’s expected to be a busy game.
And there will be increased security measures in place. Police to Twitter to remind people that Kingsholm Road will be shut from 3pm. Those using the Park and Ride service are advised that this service will drop supporters in Worcester Street by the bridge, to allow the bus to return up Black Dog Way and return to the Park and Rude point.
- ^ The Cherry and Whites (www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk)
- ^ As it happened: Conservatives take comprehensive win on dark night for Labour (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
A burglar who raided a Cotswolds farmhouse and stole more than 10,000 worth of jewellery has walked free from court today despite the devastating impact the offence has had on the owners. Ian Richards, 40, who was caught because his face was clearly visible on the owner’s home CCTV, had been held in custody since his arrest at the end of January. But today a judge at Gloucester Crown Court freed him with a two- year jail sentence suspended for two years. Recorder Peter Towler imposed a three months home curfew on Richards from 8pm to 6.30am each night and ordered him to undergo a 30 day rehabilitation activity programme
Richards, of Kingscote Road, Hucclecote, admitted burgling the home at Temple Guiting, on January 27 this year. Prosecutor Nick O’Brien said that the family who lived there were away for a few days at the time of the raid but the house was well covered by CCTV and an alarm system. In the early hours of the morning, at about 3.30am, the homeowner was asleep in a hotel when her alarm system sent an alert to her mobile phone . However she did not look at it until the morning when she saw a picture of two burglars outside her front door.
One showed Richards clearly but the other man had his face covered and has not been identified. “The two people were seen ringing the doorbell, walking away and later coming back again,” Mr O’Brien said. “They then broke in and must have been in the house for some time because the police automatic number plate recognition system shows their car going to the property at 2.25am and not leaving until 4.40am.
“When the lady got back she found that throughout the house drawers had been searched and left open . Three iPads were stolen and 200 cash was taken from a purse in the kitchen . Bank cards and three phones were stolen.
“A great deal of jewellery valued at 10,000 at least was also taken . Nothing has been recovered. “As a result of the defendant’s face being seen on CCTV he was stopped in a car a day or so later and arrested . He was wearing the jacket seen in the CCTV image. “But he told the police he couldn’t remember anything of the offence because he had been given ‘Spice’ – the once legal high – and was told later that he had done the burglary . The prosecution rejects that explanation.”
The court heard that Richards had six previous convictions for domestic burglary although all but one of them was back in the 1990s. In a victim impact statement the homeowner said: “I no longer feel safe in my own home . I constantly worry about the burglars coming back to steal the other items they missed. “We have several children and we used to leave doors open but now we have to lock them all . My partner and I have changed our sleeping positions in bed so he can be closer to the door in case of burglary again.
“What particularly upsets me is that two of the stolen rings were given to me by my grandmother and they have lots of sentimental value to me.” She said she no longer feels able to stay in the house and will be moving out with her family in May. “My partner is still struggling to sleep at night,” she said. “Both of us are struggling to deal with the emotions this has caused.”
Joe Maloney, for Richards, said he still maintained he had been given a ‘substance’ which caused him to get involved in the burglary when he had no need to do so, He was working at that time and his bank records showed he had 400 in his account on the day of the raid, he said. Passing sentence Recorder Towler said: “You told the police when you were arrested that you had no recollection of the night in question after the point at which you had smoked a cigarette at a pub which you were later told contained the drug Spice.
“However, the CCTV footage clearly shows you and at least one other person outside the house and it is clear the burglary lasted some time, more than an hour.
“Some of what you stole was of great sentimental value . Not only has Ms Butcher lost those items of value to her but she has come to the conclusion she can no longer bear to live in that house and they are planning to move. “That kind of impact is an aggravating feature in a case of this kind . It is category one in the sentencing guidelines with a starting point of 3 years custody and a range of 2-6 years. “I have read through your lengthy criminal record and note that you have six previous convicitions for domestic burglary . Only one of those is since 1999 when the automatic minimum sentence came into force.
“You also have a large number of 17 non domestic burglaries and other offences on your record, some of them serious. “You have been to prison on a number of occasions . At the time of this offence you were subject to a community order made by Gloucester Magistrate in August last year for using threatening behaviour . Your progress on that order was reported as being good. “You said to your probation officer that you were never going to go back to prison again. “I have seen a number of letters – from your employer and your bank statement which shows you were in work and had money in the bank and no need to commit this offence.
“I have seen letters from your mother and also from your 13 year old son.
“The efforts you have made in the last year or so justify me taking a course I would not otherwise have taken .
You have been able to re-establish a relationship with your son and indeed with his mother and everything was going in the right direction until stupidly you got in with the wrong people and succumbed to their persuasion and committed this offence.”
- ^ House in suburban Gloucester at centre of police probe into forced prostitution and slavery (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ How ‘you’re short’ jibe led to cup of McDonald’s coke being thrown at couple who beat victim (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
A tourist attraction in Somerset has been burgled days after a lone security guard quit in terror claiming a new cave is haunted.
Scared Stephen Wheeler has worked in security for 25 years but only lasted eight days at Wookey Hole in Somerset.
He said a new huge cave which was opened this year spooked him and his Rottweiler Sherman so much they refused to patrol the new ‘Chamber 20’ labyrinth.
Stephen said Sherman would flatly refuse to enter the cave and he often felt he was being watched or touched on the neck – or his torch batteries would suddenly run out.
The burly 45 year-old said: “Sherman isn’t fazed by anything but he didn’t want to go into that chamber.
“I’ve done security work all over the place, in graveyards and film sets, he has always come with me and never been like this.
“After 12 o’clock, as soon as we hit that tunnel, you just stop and get really nervous.
“Once we got into the chamber, you would hear noises but no-one was working in there.
“I’m not someone who gets nervous but it made me nervous.
“I always carry two torches with me, LED ones, and they both ran out of battery at the same time . That doesn’t happen at all.
“They have lights in there, site lights run on transformers, but they transformers kept blowing . They are designed to be there.
“I often felt like someone was watching over my shoulder all the time, especially in that cave.
“I’ve also been poked in the back .
I’m fairly sceptical but not when it comes to my dog and that cave.
“This is first time I’ve ever quit like this . I had a two-month contract but I just thought no . I’m not doing it any more.”
Stephen, from Easton, Bristol handed in his notice on the 16th October – and three days later burglars struck.
The entrance doors were kicked open and a thief walked away with 400 cash, a charity box filled with change and souvenir items from the tourist attraction’s gift shop.
The intruder was caught on CCTV and a 5,000 reward is on offer.
Stephen had been hired after an earlier attempted break-in on October 1st when five youths were foiled trying to get into the attraction.
Wookey Hole said the new haunted cave was also affecting other staff.
Manager and owner Dan Medley said: “It all started when we blew the cave open at the end of July.
“The rest of the cave system is fine, it is just literally this one chamber.
“It’s made it hard for us to operate .
The staff are wary of going in there on their own.
“Security staff are too scared to patrol it .
When we say we want the whole site checked on, that is the one area they don’t like and leave.
“When the last guard walked out, that’s when we got burgled .
I’m having to go around the whole site now myself but I’m not brave enough to go into chamber 20.”
This week’s midnight Halloween walk has also been cancelled as no staff want to work it.