Shotgun thief has appeal dismissed

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The getaway driver for a gang who stole a shotgun in a raid has been told he cannot complain about his jail term.

Barry Steward (31), of West Parade, Wisbech, was locked up for four years at Lincoln Crown Court in October after admitting two counts of burglary.

Last week he challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was over the top for his crimes.

But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said thefts of lethal weapons were ‘always serious’ and merited severe sentences as such weapons could fall into the hands of criminals.

The court heard Steward was the driver for a gang who broke into properties in Durham Road, Dawsmere and Station Road, West Dereham, near King’s Lynn, on November 8, 2011. At the second property, the gang stole items worth £4,000 along with a shotgun.

Steward had his case adjourned so he could help police recover the weapon, but efforts proved fruitless and it remained missing.

His lawyers argued the crown court judge placed too much weight on the theft of the shotgun.

But dismissing the appeal, Judge Michael Pert QC, sitting with Lady Justice Hallett and Mr Justice Bean, said a ‘deterrent’ sentence was needed, given the fact the gun was unaccounted for.