TWO men caught peddling cigarettes stolen in a raid at a South Yorkshire convenience store have been sent to jail.
Gavin Parkin and Jody Dunford, both 30, were jailed by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court after they admitted handing £750 worth of cigarettes.
The cigarettes were stolen from TCs Mini Mart in Greasbrough, Rotherham, during a robbery last July.
Sentencing Parkin to a year and Dunford to eight months in prison, Judge Michael Murphy QC said: “If a person handles stolen goods then they encourage either the theft or the robbery.
“If there weren’t handlers there would not be thieves or robbers. That’s what makes it a particularly serious offence.”
The court heard 3,500 cigarettes were taken in the raid at 6.15am on July 9. Heidi Cotton, prosecuting, said: “A witness was approached by both the defendants who asked him for a lift.
“He began to drive them around the Sheffield area, Kimberworth and Rotherham, and it became apparent they were trying to sell something to shops and pubs.
She added: “He didn’t ask what was being sold but he began to feel uncomfortable.”
Miss Cotton said a few days later the witness heard ‘whispers on the grapevine’.
Parkin attended a police station and Dunford was arrested.
Both made no comment in their police interviews but later admitted handling stolen goods.
The court heard both men were the subject of suspended jail sentences for previous offences at the time and both had previous convictions.
Tim Savage, defending Parkin, said his client had sold the cigarettes to fund his drug habit and clear drug debts.
Amanda Denton, defending, Dunford, of Elm Grove, Greasbrough, Rotherham, said he’d already served the equivalent of a 13-month jail sentence and wanted to get on with his life with his partner and child and get back to work.
He will be released because of time he has already spent on remand.