'Getaway' taxi for burglars led police to Cambridgeshire air ambulance charity raiders

  • Bodycam footage from Cambridgeshire Police showed the first two burglars being arrested

Three men who broke into an air ambulance charity's new headquarters have been sentenced for their part in what police have described as a "despicable" crime.

Police were called to reports of a disturbance at the Magpas Air Ambulance site in Barnwell Road in Cambridgeshire at around 5.25pm on 2 July.

When they arrived, they found the site had been broken into and James Copeland and Luke Hodgkins, both 32, were arrested.

When a taxi turned up to pick up the two men, it led them to the third suspect.

CCTV revealed that three men had arrived in a white Ford Transit van earlier that afternoon.

The van was found a couple of miles from the air ambulance site in a compound, rented by Hodgkins, with stolen diesel inside, along with items including JCB parts and power tools.

A key to the new Magpas air ambulance building was also found at the compound.

Shortly after the pair were arrested, a taxi arrived booked by "Sam" to take the trio to Barnabas Court in Huntingdon.

There was also a second van registered to Barnabas Court, which officers visited and where they arrested Samuel Bamsey, 24, as the third suspect.

At Cambridge Crown Court, Copeland, of St Ives, and Hodgkins of Chatteris, were sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to burglary.

Bamsey was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to two counts of burglary, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and fraudulently using a registration mark. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.

PC Toby McEvoy said: “This was a planned burglary by three men who thought they had covered their tracks but our officers were one step ahead.

“Targeting a local charity who work to help save lives across our county is despicable. We know the devastating impact burglary can have on victims, which is why tackling it is a priority.”

Magpas Air Ambulance chief executive Daryl Brown said: “As a charity that exists to care for the community we work in, we were shocked and disappointed that our new facilities were the target of crime.

"We rely on generous donations to continue to save lives 24/7 and our new building was a result of many years of hard work and support."

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