A gang of robbers who targeted householders with expensive cars and cash and carry staff across the Midlands - including two in Northampton - have been jailed for almost 29 years.
Gavin Hunt of Kelynmead Road, Tile Cross and brothers Christopher Dixon of Greenfinch Road, Castle Bromwich and Jamie Dixon of Auckland Drive, Smithswood, were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday.
Hunt had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to rob: the first for a number of robberies between November 2012 and March 2013 and the second for one carried out in January this year.
The Dixon brothers also admitted their involvement in the crimes, with Christopher pleading guilty to the first count and Jamie admitting his involvement in the second.
The first charge related to six robberies, which began on November 16 2012 when a family living in Tile Cross Road, Birmingham, had their home broken into by three masked men who demanded the keys to the Audi RS4 on the driveway. The car was later recovered in Coleshill, Warwickshire.
On January 12 2013, two men wearing balaclavas broke into a house on Western Road, Sutton Coldfield and hit the householder to the body with a crowbar to get him to hand over the keys to his Audi RS6.
Around two weeks later, on 28 January, Rajinder Auluk was at his Newton Road home in Great Barr with his family when two men smashed their way through his front door and demanded the keys for their Nissan Pulsar GTR and a Mercedes CLK. Mr Auluk’s nine-year-old son tried to hide behind the sofa, but one of the men grabbed him and held an axe above his head. The men got away in the Nissan, but left the Mercedes on the drive.
On March 8, a woman from Bookers cash and carry on Ravens Way, Northampton, was leaving work for the day when four men pulled up in a vehicle. Two of the men got out of the car and one of them grabbed her. They forced her to ask the other employees inside the premises to let them in, but nobody opened the door. Another man then got out of the car with a crow bar and started to hit the door, but was unable to get through. The men then left the area.
Two days later, a man was at home with his wife and young daughter in Oldburgh Drive, Loxley, Warwickshire, when he heard a knock on the door. He answered it and two masked men pushed their way inside. A third man with a sledgehammer also came in and the couple were forced into the kitchen where they had their hands tied. The men found the keys for the householder’s Audi RS4 and then drove off, taking other items from the property with them.
The next day, on March 11, an employee at Batleys cash and carry Gielgud Way, Coventry, was outside the premises locking up when four people with crowbars got out of a car. They demanded the staff member open the shutters and punched him twice to the face. They asked him to open the safe, but he was unable to due to a time lock, so the robbers instead grabbed £81,000 of cigarettes before leaving.
The second count of conspiracy to rob is in relation to a robbery at Badger Lane, Grange Park, Northampton. A couple were at home when they heard someone at the door. They answered and two men forced their way in and demanded keys to an Audi R8 on the drive. Due to a tracker being fitted to the vehicle, it was located by officers in the Thames Valley area and Gavin Hunt and Jamie Dixon were arrested nearby after being tracked down by a police sniffer dog.
“At the time, Gavin Hunt was already on court bail after being arrested and charged in connection with the first series of offences,” said Detective Constable Damian Forrest from West Midlands Police.
He added: “We caught him over the earlier robberies because his van was seen driving away from the location of where the first car was stolen from in Tile Cross Road.
“From there, months of painstaking examinations of his phone records, the movements of his vehicles and those stolen, led us to track his acquaintances and their movements at the times of the robberies.
“Christopher Dixon – along with two women and two men – were then arrested in connection with the first string of robberies. No further action was taken against the women and one of the men, but Gavin Hunt and another man – who can’t be named for legal reasons - were later charged in connection with all the robberies, with Christopher Dixon being charged over the first count.
“Due to his arrest in Thames Valley, Jamie Dixon was subsequently charged in relation to the robbery at Badger Lane, along with another man called Lloyd Trevis of Mandarin Drive, Northampton.”
On Friday (August 8) Hunt, aged 41, received two sentences of 12 years and 10 months, to run concurrently, for all the robberies.
Jamie Dixon, aged 32, was sentenced to eight years and ten months as a ‘dangerous offender’, meaning he must serve two thirds of his sentence before being eligible for parole. He was also given an extended parole period of five years. Christopher Dixon, aged 29, was jailed for seven years and three months.
The fourth man pleaded not guilty and following a four-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court was acquitted last Thursday (7 August) of any involvement in the crimes. Lloyd Trevis, aged 28, was also cleared of any involvement in the second count of conspiracy to rob.
On sentencing Gavin Hunt and the Dixon brothers, Judge Paul Farrer QC described the trio’s crimes as being “carefully planned” with “real sophistication”, calling the robbery at Rajinder Auluk’s home, a “cowardly and callous act that no right thinking individual would have contemplated.”
Det Con Damian Forrest said: “We are satisfied with the sentences handed to these dangerous individuals, and that they will no longer be able to terrorise residents in their homes or people at work for cash and cars.
“Thankfully, none of the victims were badly hurt in these robberies, but I have no doubt that the gang would have used serious violence to achieve their objectives if they had not got what they wanted.
“These robberies had a serious effect on the families targeted and I know they are pleased Hunt and the Dixon brothers will spend a considerable amount of time behind bars for what they put them through.”