Raid on butcher’s was an inside job’

THE theft of a safe from a butcher s shop in Dunmow was an inside job a court was told on Friday. Burglars escaped with £2000 after Matthew Deller, an employee at the shop, told them how to steal the safe, Chelmsford Crown Court was told. Deller, 21, of

THE theft of a safe from a butcher's shop in Dunmow was 'an inside job' a court was told on Friday.

Burglars escaped with £2000 after Matthew Deller, an employee at the shop, told them how to steal the safe, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

Deller, 21, of Fitzwalter Road, Little Dunmow, admitted aiding and abetting the burglary and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

Recorder Rex Bryan told him: "This was a serious breach of trust and you betrayed your employer."

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Christopher Saunders, 24, of Mullins Road, Braintree, admitted dishonestly handling the stolen safe and was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

Saunders also admitted being in breach of a two month suspended prison sentence for possessing a bladed article, to run consecutively. Recorder Bryan told Saunders: "You provided the means and the place where the safe could be opened and you knew it was a stolen safe. You knew what you were getting yourself into."

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At an earlier hearing Saunders' mother Eileen Fudge, 56, of Clavering Road, Braintree, denied and was cleared of dishonestly handling the stolen safe after the prosecution offered no evidence against her.

John Caudle, prosecuting, said on January 14 last year burglars broke into Sweetlands butcher's shop in Stortford Road, Dunmow, by forcing a side door.

The intruders removed a safe containing £2000 in cash and £2000 worth of cheques. A man was seen running away with the safe.

Later that night witnesses saw a safe being carried into the garage of an address in Braintree. They heard an angle grinder being used and saw sparks coming from under the door and police were alerted.

When officers arrived they spoke to Saunders' mother who said she could not let police into the garage but there was no safe.

The court heard the safe was eventually found on January 30 in a river at Great Easton. It had been broken open and emptied of its contents and the money had never been recovered.

Mr Caudle said the circumstances of the burglary indicated it was 'an inside job' and Deller, who was an employee at Sweetlands and an associate of Saunders, was arrested and interviewed.

Deller admitted he had told some other people, who he declined to name, how to burgle Sweetlands and that he did it to pay off a drugs debt. He denied being part of the burglary itself.

Helen Booth, mitigating, said Deller had worked at the butcher's shop for about six months.

At the time Deller was using cocaine and got behind with payments to his dealer. He owed £1300 and was put under pressure to pay off the debt.

Deller accepted he gave information to others about the safe, but was not involved in the burglary. He was ashamed of what he had done. As a consequence, he was thrown out of his home address and had since moved away from the area.

Richard Potts said Saunders acted on the spur of the moment after he had been drinking and his judgement was poor.

"He had no doubt expected something out of it but got nothing but a considerable amount of trouble out of it," said Mr Potts.

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