Sheffield thieves who stole high value cars and raided designer clothes shop given reduced sentences 

Gavin Bennett
Gavin Bennett

Professional thieves who stole over £500,000 worth of high value cars in a string of late night raids across South Yorkshire have had their sentences slashed today.

Gavin Bennett, age 37, of Maun Way, Firth Park and Martin Griffin, 28, of Butterthwaite Road, Shiregreen, carried out 22 burglaries in two months, targeting 20 homes and twice hitting the same designer clothes store.

Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin

The pair targeted expensive cars and also raided the Eton store, in Division Street – once in  August and again in October last year - walking away with thousands of pounds worth of clothing.

They were eventually caught and, after admitting conspiracy to burgle and to steal cars, were jailed for 10 years each at Sheffield Crown Court in March.

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But today, after an appeal by their lawyers at London’s Court of appeal, the men's sentences were slashed to nine years.

CCTV footage of one of the ram raids at Eton on Division Street in Sheffield city centre

CCTV footage of one of the ram raids at Eton on Division Street in Sheffield city centre

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the pair should not have got consecutive sentences for the offences, because the theft plot was "part and parcel" of the burglaries.

"There really is no separate criminality which that particular count represents," the judge said.

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The court heard how Bennett and Griffin had acted together in a "professional manner" to burgle houses, and that both had a previous criminal record.

After getting into houses, they ransacked them, taking the keys to expensive cars, which were then driven off the driveways. 

They also took some personal property, including jewellery, cash and documents, during the raids and left messy scenes behind them.

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In some cases, the householders and their children were asleep upstairs when Griffin and Bennett struck.

Being burgled had had a "very significant" impact on the victims, said the appeal judge.

But he said the conspiracy to steal cars was effectively a part of the plot to burgle the houses and therefore the pair should not have received a consecutive sentence.

He ordered that the one-year term for the theft plot should run concurrently to the nine-year sentence for the burglaries.

The men will now both serve nine years in prison.