A gang of five men who committed 42 burglaries, including several in Gloucestershire, netting more than half a million pounds worth of loot, have been jailed for a total of 37 years and four months.

A sixth member, who stored stolen cash and jewellery, was jailed for thirteen months but will be released immediately having served his time while in remand.

At Bristol Crown Court today (December 8), Judge Michael Cullum commended Acting Sergeant Kirsty Iliffe, DC Mark Johnson and an anonymous civilian, for their work investigating.

The gang, all from Cheltenham, carried out burglaries across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire between August 2019 and February 2020.

Among the crimes the gang were responsible for was the ram raid of Bourton on the Water Post Office on August 29, 2019.

A Volkswagen Golf, valued at £28,000, was stolen from Havenhill Road, Tetbury, on the same day.

The vehicle was recovered on November 7, 2019 and by then had a false number plate. The car also had items in it from burglaries in Old Railway Close in Lechlade.

The six men sentenced at the end of a three-day hearing were: David Benyon, 32, of Dinas Road, Josh Brammer, 26, of Clarke Way, Sonny Curran, 32, of Clevedon Square, Jason Hawkins, 28, of Shurdington Road, Ryan McCormick, 35, of Clyde Crescent and Max Smith, 28, of Ruby Avenue, Bishops Cleeve.

All but Hawkins admitted two charges of conspiracy to burgle, one charge of conspiracy to steal and an additional burglary charge.

All defendants, including Hawkins, pleaded guilty to transferring criminal property.

Curran, Smith and McCormick and Benyon further admitted an additional burglary charge.

The court was told Hawkins had a lesser role because he played no physical part in the burglaries - but was always in the area when a crime was being committed by other gang members. Stolen jewellery and cash was found at his home.

Prosecutor Robin Shellard said: “The estimated cost of the offending is £616,650. This is made up of the loss of items £508,000 and the damage caused to property amounted to £107,000.

“These figures do not include business interruption costs. One of the burglaries was of a Post Office which suffered a loss of income of £50,000 due to the damage done.

“For some victims the loss was too much to bear and they went out of business.

“The total value of the stolen vehicles was around £238,471 with most of the cars being recovered - although in many instances they were damaged."

Mahan Mann, defending Benyon, said his client had shown significant remorse and now realised the impact the burglaries had on the victims.

Lloyd Jenkins, for Smith, said he was a family man with no similar previous convictions. He had got caught up in the burglaries as a means to pay for his drug addiction.

James Tucker, representing Brammer, Curran and McCormick, said they were all family men with children and had shown significant remorse having realised the impact of being burgled on the victims.

Sarah Jenkins, for Hawkins, said he was of previous good character and had played only a limited role in the offending.

Beynon was sentenced to eight years and four months; Curran received a prison term of seven years and six months; Brammer and Smith were jailed for seven years while McCormick received a sentence of seven years and four months.

Hawkins was sentenced to one year and one month and was told that because of time served on remand he would be immediately released.

Judge Michael Cullum told the defendants: “The headline figure is over half a million pounds loss of personal property and your actions have caused over £100,000 worth of damage.

“These figures do not properly describe the misery you have caused to the home and business owners. The callousness behind your criminality means your references about jobs and work ethic have little effect in any real mitigation.

“You have chosen serious and organised crime as your career to date.

“There are many individual stories of the victims’ losses. Wedding rings were stolen.

“There were tales of misery inflicted on commercial premises. These were not burglaries without a victim. You nearly destroyed Bourton on the Water Post Office in the process and the family living above the shop."

“A pensioner supplementing her income by selling jewellery had to close her business having lost uninsured stock. On two occasions individuals were assaulted during the burglaries.

“The sentences I will be passing are far in excess of the guidelines due to the volume of burglaries for which Beynon was involved in 29; Curran in 25; Brammer in 23; Smith in 29 and McCormick in 34.”

All defendants will face a proceeds of crime hearing on July 13 when the court will assess what assets they have that can be confiscated. Some will also face criminal prevention order proceedings.