Teenager avoids getting stuck in jail over £30,000 Wrigley’s chewing gum heist | UK News

A teenager who helped steal £30,000 of Wrigley’s gum to pay off a debt has avoided jail.

Keon Sanderson, 18, was part of a trio that raided a lorry when the female driver fell asleep while parked at Gloucester Services on the M5.

The gang took away seven of the 19 pallets of gum after cutting open the side of a vehicle in a “sophisticated” operation on May 4 of this year.

They fled the scene after another driver spotted them and called police, sparking a chase along the motorway to Cheltenham.

They ended up driving the wrong way on the A40 before dumping their truck near a BMW dealership and running away.

Sanderson and co-defendant Ellis Benecke, 20 – a once promising football player whose career hopes were destroyed by drugs and debt – were arrested shortly afterwards.

The lorry driver revealed how she took a week off work emotionally after “her home was effectively broken into”.

Sanderson was “forced” into the raid to cancel his outstanding debts and would not profit from the sale of the gum, Gloucester Crown Court said.

He is a “foot soldier” and “absolutely not involved” in the theft scheme.

Defense attorney Mandla Ndlou said: “This was done a lot under the initiative of an individual much larger than him.

Police initially thought Sanderson, from Birstall near Leeds, West Yorkshire, was the holiday driver but now they accept that was not the case, the court heard.

The 18-year-old was guilty of theft and possession of marijuana and did not provide a breath test, blood or urine sample for analysis.

Sentencing him to 10 months in prison, 18 months of probation, record label judge Richard Mawhinney said: “This was a sophisticated and planned operation to identify a vehicle from which the goods were to be stolen. steal.”

But he added: “I accept that the plan is not yours, and you are indeed a foot soldier.

“You’ve been under a certain amount of pressure to take these actions, but at the same time you’ve benefited from debt forgiveness.”

He was also given 150 hours of unpaid work, £200 in court costs, and banned from the streets for 18 months for refusing to take a breath test or give a sample.

Benecke, from Leeds, was sentenced to eight months in prison, 18 months of probation and 140 hours of unpaid work for theft and marijuana.

He was convicted in the same court on Monday after also admitting to participating in the burglary to settle a debt.

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