A farmer and his two sons who collectively handled more than £100,000 of stolen farm vehicles have received suspended jail sentences.
The vehicles, stolen from victims in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire between January 2007 and March 2011, were discovered after police raided two addresses in Harby - Leicester Crown Court heard yesterday (Wednesday).
Barry Allsop (57), now of Coston Road, Sproxton, admitted four counts of handling stolen vehicles, worth a combined value of about £66,500, on the basis he had no commercial motive to sell them on.
These vehicles were a £43,000 John Deere tractor, stolen from north Muscombe, Nottinghamshire, a £13,500 JCB telescopic loader, stolen from a farm in Hanthorpe, near Bourne, a £6,000 Fiat tractor, stolen from a farm building in Stretton, near Oakham, and a £3,000 Mitsubishi pick-up stolen from a business in Nottinghamshire.
Matthew Allsop (32), of Colston Lane, Harby, admitted three counts of handling stolen vehicles, on the same basis as his father, worth a combined £29,100. These were a £22,500 Land Rover Discovery car, stolen from a farm shop in Nottinghamshire, a £5,700 road roller, stolen from Sproxton, near Melton, and a £900 trailer, stolen from a farm in Grantham.
Jamie Allsop (28), of Colston Lane, Harby, admitted handling a stolen Mitsubishi Warrior vehicle, taken from a farm in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and worth £10,000. His plea was accepted on the basis the vehicle was used for his own enjoyment rather than any intended sell-on.
The court was told that the crimes committed by the three defendants had no connection to the running of the family-run scrap metal and recycling centre business B Allsop and Sons.
Neil Bannister, prosecuting, said the vehicles were found in April 2011 when police raided Lodge Farm, in Colston Lane, Harby, where Barry and Jamie lived, and The Chestnuts in Colston Lane, Harby, where Matthew lived.
When he was interviewed by police about the stolen John Deere tractor, Barry Allsop denied knowing anything about it and denied being involved in stealing it.
In respect of the Fiat tractor he told police he had used it but claimed he had no idea where it had come from or how it arrived at Lodge Farm.
He initially claimed the JCB loader could have been left on the farm by forestry or landscape workers but he later declined to comment further.
In mitigation, Tyrone Smith, defending Barry Allsop, said he was a ‘man of positively good character’ who did a large amount of charitable work and was ‘well regarded’ in the farming community.
Mr Smith added: “It’s difficult to see what led him to commit these offences. He accepts his guilt and recognises it was a mistake not contacting the police.”
Terence Boulter, defending Matthew Allsop, said he was a married man with two young children who was of previous good character and was genuinely remorseful.
Matthew Radstone, defending Jamie Allsop, said he was a ‘hard-working young man who was sorry for the offence he committed and understood the consequences of his actions.”
Mr Bannister said the Crown Prosecution Service would be pursuing the men using the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Judge Simon Hammond told the defendants they had come very close to being jailed.
He said: “There’s no doubt a custodial sentence could be justified. There’s an old saying that if there are no receivers there will no be thieves. The theft of farm equipment is a huge problem for farmers, not just the financial cost but also the inconvenience, particularly at certain times of the year. That’s why it’s serious and you’ve been very lucky not to be sent to prison.”
Barry Allsop received a 21-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Matthew Allsop received a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 100 hours’ unpaid work.
Jamie Allsop was given a five-month sentence, suspended for one year.