Chesterfield old lag with “appalling” 235 offences jailed for cafe burglary

A Chesterfield criminal with an “appalling” record for 235 offences who used a customer’s car left at the garage where he worked to burgle a cafe has been jailed for 22 months.

By Ben McVay
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 4:41 pm

Graham Turner, 61, was serving a driving ban at the time of the burglary at Whittington Moor’s Crossroads Cafe between January 16 and January 17.

Derby Crown Court heard “habitual offender” Turner had a staggering 25 previous convictions for driving while banned.

Judge Robert Egbuna, describing the defendant as having a “complete disregard for court orders”, told him: “You have an appalling record.

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Graham Turner, 61, was serving a driving ban at the time of the burglary at Whittington Moor’s Crossroads Cafe

“My reading of your previous convictions is 57 convictions for 235 offences.

“You have 12 non-dwelling house burglaries over and above the ones you committed on this occasion.”

Prosecutor David Eager described how on January 16 Turner’s employer, who owned a garage, trusted him with the keys to his lock-up so the defendant could work on another car.

Mr Eager said: “It was agreed that the keys would be returned by 6pm - they weren’t.”

The prosecutor said a customer’s car - a VW Touran - was seen in the early hours of the following morning being “loaded up” and Turner was later pulled over by police.

He said: “In the boot of that vehicle were items stolen in the burglary from the Crossroads Cafe.

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“They were 24 eggs, 25 cans of fizzy pop, 14 bottles of fizzy pop, a tin of coffee, a money box tin, a first aid kit, two packs of biscuits and there was a till missing as well.”

The court heard the till was never recovered.

Police later discovered the cafe had a rear window removed - “with some skill and planning”, added Mr Eager.

The prosecutor added: “He is a man of, quite frankly, appalling character.

"This man has no intention, it would seem of abiding by any court order that disqualifies him from driving. In addition he has numerous convictions for burglary.”

Mr Eager said Turner had 12 previous non-dwelling burglary offences on his record.

Turner, who also admitted taking a vehicle without consent, driving while banned and driving uninsured, pleaded guilty to the burglary on the basis that he was not working alone.

The defendant claimed he took the VW Touran to help unload the stolen goods from the already-broken into premises.

However, jailing Turner, of Oakamoor Close, Chesterfield, for 22 months, Judge Robert Egbuna told him: “I reject your basis of plea.

“An implement was required for the removal of the window, so you were equipped for burglary.

“There was a significant degree of planning and in this case you took a vehicle for the purposes of committing the burglary.”

William Bennett, mitigating for Turner, told the court: “Your honour will not be surprised to hear that his life has been blighted by drug misuse.”

Mr Bennett said in the mid-1990s Turner lost two children to cot deaths and turned to heroin.

He said: “He knows with a record as bad as his it is going to be a custodial sentence of some length.”

Turner was also banned from driving for two years.

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