Man steals £115,000 worth of machinery from auto parts company

A thief stole £115,000 worth of machinery from a business after breaking into an industrial estate. The theft resulted in the loss of thousands of pounds of work after having to close temporarily.

Robert Dowding, 53, and another targeted business premises owned by BAS International in Llantarnam Industrial Park in Cwmbran on December 7 last year. When the business owner came the next day to discover the burglary and discovered vehicle injection molds worth £115,000 had been stolen.

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday heard that Dowding and his unknown accomplice had staked the business the day before and carried out the burglary “in the dead of night” in a car accompanied by his dogs. The defendant, of Melfort Gardens, Newport, was arrested and later pleaded guilty to burglary and theft.

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Attorney Josh Scouller said there was a ‘significant financial impact’ on BAS International with owner Robert Humphries’ statement saying they were unable to fulfill orders resulting in a loss of substantial income and that there was an insurance problem. Despite the company’s difficulties, fortunately no one lost their job as a result of the theft.

Defense lawyer Ieuan Rees said his client lived a “chaotic lifestyle” and had a “horrible” criminal record, having previously been convicted of burglary, among other offences. He said the defendant suffered from abuse and an unstable upbringing which led to a criminal lifestyle. He said Dowding was also addicted to amphetamines which caused “distorted thinking”.

At sentencing, Judge Daniel Williams said: “The reality is that you don’t care at all about the victims of your burglary or the offenses you’ve committed over the years. There was clearly planning and organization and you were part of a small team.”

Dowding was sentenced to a total of three years and seven months in prison. He was also sentenced to an additional two months in prison for breaching a suspended sentence.

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