Country estate thief gets jail time

Ashridge Business School, Hertfordshire
Ashridge Business School, Hertfordshire

A burglar who stole items including handbags, a car stereo, sunglasses and an umbrella from cars parked on a country estate has been sentenced to 36 weeks behind bars.

Janie Loveridge, 42, appeared at Hatfield Remand Court on Tuesday, June 2 before being handed a 36-week prison sentence at a further appearance at West Herts Magistrates Court.

She was charged with and jailed for a string of offences relating to thefts from cars in car parks across the 5,000-acre Ashridge Estate throughout May.

The crime spree saw phones, cash, jewellery, handbags, purses, an umbrella and a car stereo with speakers stolen from people’s cars as they were parked in Little Gaddesden, Aldbury, Potten End and Berkhamsted.

Loveridge, of West Parade, Dunstable, was given a 20-week concurrent sentence for thefts from motor vehicles and an extra 16-week consecutive sentence for breaching a previous suspended sentence.

Dacorum’s Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector George Holland said: “Police have been made aware of a number of thefts from motor vehicles in the Ashridge Estate area in recent weeks.

“Officers have carried out operations which have so far led to one person being handed a prison sentence for a number of offences.

“Police will continue these operations to help prevent further incidents and we hope this sentence serves as a warning that we will not tolerate this type of crime.

“We would strongly advise drivers to make sure they remove all valuables from their vehicles, including from the glove box and boot, and ensure that all doors and windows are locked when leaving vehicles unattended.

“Following these simple steps can help deter opportunist thieves, who can operate in any area.

“We would also ask anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity around vehicles to contact police immediately.”

A spokesman from the Ashridge Estate, which oversees 20 car parks, say they have had just one report of burglary from a vehicle in one of the outlying car parks in recent months.

Susie Mercer, general manager at the Ashridge Estate, said: “We welcome the move as it may deter out-of-hours anti-social behaviour.

“We have real concerns about people driving recklessly on the meadow and the green, as well as littering and fly tipping after most visitors have gone home.

“So if the additional work the police are doing here helps stamp this out, we will be really grateful.”