A YOUNG Coventry couple who targeted railway station car parks to steal the expensive spare wheels from the rear doors of Land Rovers have appeared in court.
Jonathan and Julie Cawley were sentenced at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to two thefts from vehicles at Rugby railway station and one at Birmingham International station.
Jonathan Cawley (22) of Chandos Street, Coventry, who had previous convictions for 13 offences including four for theft, was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to take part in rehabilitation and thinking skills activities and to pay £900 compensation.
Julie Cawley (20) of the same address, who is heavily pregnant and had only one previous conviction for fraud, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Prosecutor Anthony Cartin said all three of the offences involved the theft of spare wheels which were attached to the rear doors of Land Rover Discoveries parked at railway stations.
The first theft took place at Birmingham International station in January last year after a woman had left her Discovery there for five days and returned to find the spare, which cost £600 to replace, was missing.
A CCTV recording from the car park pinpointed the date of the theft as January 17, but the thieves could not be identified.
Eight days later the couple switched their attention to Rugby railway station where a man had left his Land Rover parked from 6.25am until 7.20pm.
He did not realise the spare wheel had been taken until he got home, and it cost him £300 to replace it.
Then on January 30 a Jaguar Land Rover employee returned to Rugby station to find the rear door of his work Discovery had been damaged and the spare wheel stolen.
As a result of those last two thefts, the police had an officer keeping the Rugby station car park under observation the following day when he saw the Cawleys’ white Transit van.
They claimed they were meeting an uncle from a train, but were vague about any further details of when he was due to arrive.
Checks showed the Transit was taxed and insured, so they were allowed to go on their way – and rather than remain to wait for their ‘uncle,’ they tried to drive off the car park.
But the astute officer had ensured the barrier remained down, and they were arrested.
Jonathan Veasey-Pugh, for Jonathan Cawley, said: “His wife is heavily pregnant and is due to be induced in a week. They have one child already, a girl, and a boy on the way.”
Andrew Tucker, for Julie Cawley, said: “She is a lady with two blemishes now, a significant time apart. She has pressing needs to care for a young child, and another on the way.”
Sentencing the couple, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told them: “For a couple of people who are young parents, with really serious responsibilities at home, this was frankly very silly behaviour indeed.
“I am not going to send to prison two people who need to be there at home for their two children.”