The ‘despicable’ gang who burgled golf clubs during Covid lockdown

A GANG of burglars has been jailed after leaving three North-East golf clubs thousands of pounds out of pocket. Clubs in County Durham and Northumberland were targeted last year by Robert Wall, James Wall and John Croft who had their sights set on a high value haul. The trio exploited the Covid lockdown and made their first move on April 2, when they reversed a vehicle into the doors of the club of exclusive Close House Golf Club, near Wylam, in the early hours of the morning, before ransacking the premises and taking around GBP16,000 of stock.

Three days later they broke into Chester-le-Street Golf Club using a hammer, which officers would later find at the scene. A haul of historic trophies, including the Hermitage Cup which dates back to 1912 was stolen, leaving the club owners devastated. On April 22 they smashed through a gate and then reversed a truck through the front of the golf shop at Ponteland Golf club.

Once inside, they took GBP20,000 of equipment before fleeing the scene. Police arrested the trio on June 13 after an joint operation from Durham and Northumbria police forces. Robert Wall, 32, of Stamforham Road, Newcastle admitted conspiracy to burgle in relation to one of the raids and two offences of handling stolen goods, has was jailed for two years on September 17.

John Croft, of no fixed abode also appeared alongside him at Newcastle Crown Court where he admitted conspiracy to burgle and dangerous driving after ramming a van into a police car, injuring an officer. He also admitted blackmail, possessing an offensive weapon and affray. He was jailed for for a total of seven years and ten months.

James Wall, of Cornhill, East Denton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and was jailed for 43 months. Detective Chris Forster said: “We were able to present a strong case before the courts which left these despicable men with no choice other than to admit their guilt.” Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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