A MAN who took part in two targeted burglaries on commercial premises on the same night is back behind bars, starting his latest sentence.

Jason Kennedy was among a group of at least four people who carried out the raids on a branch of sandwich shop Subway, in Front Street, Framwellgate Moor, and at the Tesco filling station kiosk, at Dragonville, both Durham, within a short time in the early hours of Thursday December 23, last year.

Durham Crown Court was told Kennedy was on licence at the time after his early release from a 40-month sentence, imposed in 2020 for other commercial burglaries.

But the court heard he has also served several other custodial sentences for similar matters, going back to 2013.

Appearing via video link from nearby Durham Prison, the 27-year-old defendant, of Seymour Street, Horden, admitted two counts of burglary, stealing a till and “shop products” from the Subway branch and, “intending to steal”, from the Tesco filling station kiosk.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said in both cases hard drives were removed from cctv cameras at each of the premises.

Mr Sabiston said a padlock was smashed and an interior door was kicked in at the Subway branch.

A safe was dragged along by the intruders who took a till plus some foodstuffs, with the total loss not clear, but thought to be in the £500 to £600 bracket.

Mr Sabiston said a member of staff at Tesco disturbed the gang as they, by then, had moved on to the petrol station kiosk, at about 3.20am.

She saw a silver car outside the kiosk and heard a loud bang, making her immediately realise an attempted burglary was in progress.

The gang, wearing balaclavas, used a crow bar and sledgehammer to make “sustained efforts” to smash a door window, but they fled, before being able to remove the till, when they realised they had been disturbed.

Forensic evidence from a discarded soft drink bottle found in the Pittington area, near Durham, plus mobile phone analysis, linking him to the area, helped pinpoint Kennedy as one of those involved.

The court heard that a spokesman for the Subway branch said the raid there was the second within a few months and had affected its insurance status, while there was also a subsequent loss of trade.

Mark Styles, for Kennedy, said he had only spent a month in the community after his release on licence from his last sentence and accepts, “the inevitable” custodial sentence that will follow.

“He wasn’t the ‘principal architect’, ‘the brains’ behind this, but accepts he was encouraged to join in.

“At the age of 27 he accepts there needs to be a change in his attitude and behaviour.

“He’s finding his time in custody very difficult.”

Judge James Adkin said there were, “some hallmarks of professional criminality” in the offences, with tools taken and clear planning.

He imposed a 39-month prison sentence, including a 13-month, 25-per cent, discount from the starting point of a 52-month sentence, because of his guilty pleas.

Telling Kennedy he would serve half in custody, before being released on licence, Judge Adkin added: “You, more than anybody, know the effects of committing offences on licence.”

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