Gang that led police in helicopter chase after £10,000 robbery jailed

The convictions were aggravated by the group's connections to serious organised crime.

Gang that led police in helicopter chase after £10,000 Lanarkshire robbery jailed iStock

A gang of four who led police on a high-speed car and helicopter chase following a robbery in Lanarkshire have been jailed.

Lawrence Connor, 26, James Loveridge, 37, James Loveridge Jr, 18, and a 17-year-old male pled guilty in December to breaking into a Bellshill house and stealing jewellery worth £10,000 and £1,000 in cash.

They admitted to targeting family homes and were sentenced to a total of six years and eight months in prison at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

The convictions were aggravated by the group’s connections to serious organised crime.

Connor, a prisoner, was handed a three-year jail sentence, and Loveridge Sr, also a prisoner, was jailed for two years.

Loveridge Jr was sent to a Young Offenders Institution for 20 months, and the fourth member of the gang was given a 300-hour community payback order.

Prosecutors told the court how neighbours spotted a black BMW driving past the house around mid-morning in March 2022.

They then alerted police after seeing three men running from the property with a bag, and then fleeing in the BMW.

Officers later spotted the vehicle in Hamilton being driven in a “dangerous and reckless” manner.

At one point, the car blew through a red light and was being driven on the wrong side of Strathaven Road in Hamilton.

During the chase, the Police Air Support Helicopter Unit was deployed, and the vehicle identified and followed.

It eventually came to rest in the town’s Burnside Lane, whereby five men fled the vehicle and ran in different directions.

The four accused were all quickly apprehended nearby at different locations.

The court was told that the accused were part of a nationwide network of gangs that targeted households believed to be keeping high grade gold and jewellery at home as well as a high percentage of business cash.

Connor was also convicted of being part of a five-man gang who carried out a separate robbery at a house in Houston, Renfrewshire, and assaulting a couple in February 2022, while armed with a screwdriver.

Les Brown, Procurator Fiscal for South Strathclyde, welcomed the sentences and warned the fight to detect and disrupt criminal gangs is ongoing.

He said: “These convictions and the sentence should send a strong message to others involved in this kind of criminal behaviour and demonstrates the ability of police and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute serious and organised crime of this nature.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will continue working with the police and other agencies as a member of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to ensure that these crimes are detected and those responsible prosecuted using all measures at our disposal.”

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