A COUPLE carried out a ramraid at a jewellery shop after a three-day drink and drugs binge, a court heard.

Steven Ian Cruddas and Sarah Dinnery reversed a stolen Mitsubishi Pajero into the front window of Barnard Castle Jewellers, in Galgate, in the Teesdale market town, at about 5am on Thursday, April 26.

They grabbed several items of stock from the damaged window display before fleeing the scene, having caused nearly £15,000 worth of damage to the shop frontage.

Loading article content

Durham Crown Court heard they did not get far, however, as police responding to the shop alarm found the static Pajero, with the bonnet up, in a country lane leading to nearby Winston, at 5.50am.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Dinnery and Cruddas were found in the back seat of the extensively damaged vehicle.

Items of jewellery and antiques, some worth several hundreds pounds, were found in the front passenger footwell and were returned to the shop owner.

Mr Dryden said it emerged the Pajero and another vehicle were stolen after a break-in at a house in Gateshead overnight on April 23-24. The house appeared to have been searched and £2,000 plus various bank documents, as well as the keys to the two vehicles, were taken.

Mr Dryden said the other car taken was later found burned out.

Neither of the arrested pair made any reply in interview, but various bank documentation from the burgled house in Gateshead were found at Dinnery’s home.

The court heard that Cruddas has an “extensive criminal record”, which have seen him serving prison sentences of six and 11 years for a series of robberies.

Dinnery also has a number of offences on her record, but mainly for shoplifting and drug crime.

Ros Scott Bell, for 35-yearold Cruddas, said his “unenviable record” had led to him spending 17 of the past 20 years behind bars.

Mrs Scott Bell said all periods in prison have been punctuated with a return to drug misuse on his release.

Rachel Hedworth, for 31- year-old Dinnery, said her “unhappy”

background has seen her abusing heroin and alcohol since the age of 18.

She said the offence was preceded by a “three-day spree”

with her partner, taking spirits, cider, wine and valium.

Both Dinnery and Cruddas, of St Cuthbert’s Court, Gateshead, admitted burglary and two counts of handling stolen goods.

Cruddas was jailed for four years, while Dinnery was sentenced to 21 months in prison, her first taste of custody.

Recorder Anton Lodge told them: “You used that stolen car to ram raid the shop before helping yourselves to items of jewellery, all of which have been recovered, through no help of either of you.”