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Daily Record
Daily Record
Sarah Vesty

Gold jewellery crime gang sparked police helicopter chase after £10k raid on Scots house

An organised crime gang who led police on a high-speed car and helicopter chase after carrying out a £10,000 raid on a Lanarkshire house have been jailed. Lawrence Connor, 26, James Loveridge, 37, James Loveridge Junior, 18, and a 17-year-old male were part of a network of criminals targeting family homes for high-value gold jewellery, a court was told.

The four criminals have now been sentenced to a total of six years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty at Hamilton Sheriff Court in December. They admitted breaking into a house in Bellshill during a daylight robbery and making off with jewellery worth £10,000 as well as £1000 in cash.

The bungling raiders were rumbled after eagle-eyed neighbours spotted a black BMW driving past the house in MacDougall Quadrant on March 24 last year. They called the police after seeing three men running away from the property with a bag before jumping into a car.

The suspect motor was later spotted driving in a ‘dangerous and reckless’ manner, going through a red light and being driven on the wrong side of Strathaven Road. The Police Air Support Helicopter Unit was called in to help colleagues keep a track of the vehicle, which later came to a rest in the town’s Burnside Lane.

Five men who fled the vehicle all ran in different directions - with four of the suspects quickly apprehended by cops. Lawrence Connor was also convicted of being part of a five-man gang who carried out a separate robbery at a house in Houston, Renfrewshire, and assaulting a couple in February 2022, while armed with a screwdriver.

The convictions were aggravated by the gang’s connections to serious organised crime. Connor, a prisoner from Bolton, was handed a three-jail sentence for assault and robbery, theft by housebreaking, dangerous driving and reset.

Loveridge Senior, from Rochdale, Lancashire, was jailed for two years and his son was sent to a Young Offenders Institution for 20 months for theft by housebreaking. The fourth member of the gang, from Burnley, was given a 300-hour community payback order and placed under supervision for three years.

Les Brown, Procurator Fiscal for South Strathclyde, welcomed the sentences and warned the fight to detect and disrupt criminal gangs is ongoing.

He said: “These convictions and the sentence should send a strong message to others involved in this kind of criminal behaviour and demonstrates the ability of police and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute serious and organised crime of this nature.

“The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will continue working with the police and other agencies as a member of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to ensure that these crimes are detected and those responsible prosecuted using all measures at our disposal.”

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