Two men have narrowly avoided jail after being caught stealing high-value vehicles from farms in Somerset.
Arthur Hughes, 49, of Quarry Piece Drive, South Petherton, and his nephew Charlie, 20, of Lightgate Villas, South Petherton, were captured on CCTV brazenly stealing 4x4s.
Glastonbury beef farmer Ashley Beaton caught Charlie Hughes on camera making off with his Mitsubishi L200 Warrior on 31 October 2016.
Then on 28 December 2016, the offenders were filmed driving on a farm in South Petherton in a Peugeot 407 and entering a shed.
Charlie Hughes was filmed driving off with a farmer’s Land Rover and an Ifor Williams trailer.
Both men were convicted of theft at Taunton Crown Court on 20 December.
Arthur Hughes was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years and fined £850.
Charlie Hughes was given an 18-month term, also suspended for two years, in addition to 240 hours of unpaid work and an £850 fine.
He was also disqualified from driving for 15 months and will have to take an extended retest before regaining his licence.
In addition to two counts of theft of a motor vehicle, Charlie Hughes was also sentenced for one offence of failing to stop for police.
‘No regard for farmers’
Speaking after sentencing, Superintendent Mike Prior, Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s force lead for rural crime, said: “Arthur and Charlie Hughes’ actions had no regard whatsoever for the impact on farmers.
“In rural communities such as those they targeted, 4x4s are essential to many people’s way of life. Farmers, in particular, rely on them daily to move around challenging terrains and to carry out their work,” added Supt Prior.
“We know that those who steal these types of vehicles are a real menace.
“We are committed to apprehending those involved in this type of criminality and will do everything within our power to bring them to justice.”
Anyone with information on rural crime should call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.