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Tourists jailed for crime spree in Padstow and Newquay

By bevcoumbe  |  Posted: May 16, 2013

  • Paul Gregory who told the court he was fleeing criminals in Birmingam on his trip to Cornwall.

  • Matthew Pitt came to Cornwall searching for his father but turned to crime instead.

A pair of tourists have been jailed after they went on a two day crime spree raiding a club and a hotel in Padstow and crashing their getaway car during a high speed police chase.

They came from their homes in Birmingham for a mini break but ran out of money and turned to crime during their visit in February.

Matthew Pitt, aged 41, and Paul Gregory, aged 36, struck in Exmouth and North Cornwall before crashing their Renault Clio just feet away from a police station.

They were being chased by police as they drove at high speed on the wrong side of the road after being stopped for entering the pedestrian zone in The Strand in Barnstaple.

They crashed into a motorist just after they sped past the town’s civic centre and police station, Exeter Crown Court was told.

They took a car in Exmouth and abandoned it nearby and then drove their own Renault Clio to Cornwall where they raided the Bedruthan Steps Hotel near Newquay and the Trevose Golf Club and a farm in Padstow.

They broke into the accounts office at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel near Newquay, and stole £800 cash and a laptop which was later recovered in their car.

Gregory also stole keys, an iPod and a wallet from a guest’s room the Trevose Golf Club and left empty handed after raiding an office.

They headed back to Devon via Tresco Farm at St Merryn, where they broke into a truck and stole two satnavs and a mobile phone from its owners.

Pitt and Gregory, both of Waggon Walk, Birmingham, admitted burglary and theft.

Pitt also admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, and possession of heroin and cannabis.

He asked for the taking of the car from the Cranford Club to be considered and Gregory asked for two burglaries at the golf club and a guest’s room at its hotel to be taken into account.

Judge Phillip Wassall jailed Pitt for three years and two months and Gregory for a year and ten months.

He told them: “You did not come to the South West to commit crime but you found yourselves short of money and turned to it, as you have both done many times before in the past. You both have dreadful records.

“You were arrested the next day when Pitt drove onto a pedestrian area and the police tried to stop you.

“Ironically, you drove past the police station and the almost inevitable accident occurred with another vehicle, causing its driver and passenger to go to hospital with relatively minor injuries, but of a type that may cause problems later.”

Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said police were able to piece together the pair’s trail of crime from the Satnav in Pitts’ car.

Lee Bremridge, defending for Pitt, said he went to Cornwall in search of his long-lost father and to escape family problems at home in Birmingham.

Richard Crabb, for Gregory, said he was fleeing Birmingham to escape criminals who were threatening him.

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