A MAN was jailed yesterday (Thursday, October 8) after failing to realise the hire car he used to burgle Charlton's Tesco Express was fitted with a tracker.

Aaron Paul Morgan of Sydney Avenue, Hamble-Le-Rice was jailed for 32 months at Southampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to two counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary across Hampshire.

The 29-year-old, along with a gang of other offenders, targeted three Tesco Express stores in a crime spree last year. After purchasing a sledgehammer at B&Q Hedge End on August 16 2019, Morgan and three unknown men robbed the Tesco Express in Charlton at 4:05am the following morning.

They prised open the doors to the shop, before using the sledgehammer to smash out the cash boxes from the till area. Police believe that Morgan made off with around £1000, causing considerable damage to the store in the process.

A Ford Fiesta used in the burglary was identified and on August 18, officers sighted the vehicle in Hamble. The vehicle failed to stop after being signalled to pull over, and was pursued for a short time before the occupants of the car fled on foot. The police then examined the car, and discovered it was a hire car fitted with a tracking device which showed where the car had been, including Morgan’s home address, B&Q and the Tesco Express.

At the start of October, the gang of men, including Morgan, attempted to burgle the Tesco Express in Farlington, Portsmouth on October 1 at 3.07am. After being unable to get inside, they instead burgled the Tesco Express in Brockenhurst just over an hour and a half later, where they smashed the main entrance glass with a sledgehammer.

As in Andover, they used the sledgehammer to try and remove the cash boxes behind the till, but this time they were unsuccessful. The men left empty handed and made off in the small white van.

Just minutes after the offence, officers from Lyndhurst sighted the van travelling towards Lyndhurst from Brockenhurst. The van failed to stop and crashed into a brick wall of a residential property in Sandy Lane, Lyndhurst. When police searched the van, they found a petrol disc cutter, sledgehammer and crowbars.

The occupants then ran into the grounds of a nearby house, with a police dog finding Morgan hiding in the rear garden of a home on the High Street. Morgan subsequently pleaded guilty to the offences, and was sentenced yesterday.

Detective Constable Paul Beasley from Operation Hawk said:

“These crimes have a significant impact on the local areas which these stores serve. This is in addition to the financial impact it has on Tesco and emotional effect on its employees. Those taking part in such criminal activities show a dedication to a criminal lifestyle and it’s clear that they have no regard to how their actions affect the wider community.

"Morgan did all he could to avoid us. He used hire cars or vans which he purchased and then did not register with the DVLA, and used cloned number plates to disguise. He then used tools he purchased especially for these offences and as well as gloves and face coverings to prevent him from being identified by CCTV.

"Ultimately, Aaron Morgan’s undoing was his failure to realise that the hire car he was using was fitted with a tracker. This essentially left a breadcrumb trail from his home address in Hamble, to B&Q in Hedge End were he purchased a sledgehammer and then on to Andover where both he and the sledgehammer were used in a commercial burglary.

"This case demonstrates how technological improvements in all our everyday lives can assist us in bringing those responsible for serious and organised crime to justice."