Tunbridge Wells Burglar jailed after cash and jewellery theft

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Tracking data stored on a car driven by a Tunbridge Wells burglar has led to him being sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Gary Bentley was responsible for a crime spree last year, which came to an end after his Alfa Romeo provided crucial evidence.

On 20 May 2019, Bentley broke into a house in Sandown Park where, following an untidy search, he stole a quantity of cash and jewellery. Four days later, he drove his car to a property in Hastings Road, Pembury and forced open a door, stealing items including a bank card, watch, jewellery and metal tankards.

He used the bank card to buy tobacco, food and fuel at a number of local shops, restaurants and petrol stations. Bentley committed a further break-in at an address in Chalklet Lane, Pembury on 28 May. Here he took cash and four watches.

Detectives identified Bentley as the culprit from footage recorded on a mobile phone belonging to a witness, and he was arrested on 30 May. Examination of his car’s tracker system located it close to each of the break-ins, on the days they were committed. Bentley, aged 42, of Elmhurst Avenue, Pembury was charged with three burglaries and four counts of fraud. At Maidstone Crown Court he pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 6 February to three years and six months in prison.

Tunbridge Wells District Commander, Chief Inspector Peter Steenhuis said: ‘Bentley is a prolific and brazen offender, who entered people’s homes in broad daylight to steal whatever he could find. These type of crimes are quite simply devastating for victims, who arrive home to find their properties turned upside-down. Whilst Bentley has shown little, if any remorse for his actions, it is at least reassuring that a prison sentence will now protect residents of Tunbridge Wells from his criminal activities.’