The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
12°C | 2°C
13°C | 4°C
12°C | 3°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Ashford News Article
Career villain Levi Smith’s campaign of thieving in Ashford last year has revealed a breathtaking arrogance.
The 41-year-old was caught red-handed stealing tools from a shed... but talked his way out of it by claiming they were HIS tools!
Then he went past the boss of a scrap yard giving him a two-fingered salute as he drove away in the boss's car!
But Smith saved his most brazen theft for an Ashford jewellers..when he switched £500 diamond ring with a useless trinket.
And, even as his latest batch of spiteful crimes were being outlined at Canterbury Crown Court – the prosecutor had to rebuke his three friends in the public gallery for sniggering.
Smith, formerly of St Teresa’s Close in Ashford was given an 18-month sentence after admitting a string of burglaries and thefts.
He will only serve half of that sentence in custody and because he was electronically tagged awaiting his hearing – he will be released within weeks.
Smith – who boasts 58 previous convictions – claimed the crimes were carried out to pay off a drugs debt.
Prosecutor Trevor Wright told how in December 2012 he was spotted by Audrey Stevens walking out of her property in Christchurch Road, Ashford.
“She could see him putting on gloves and picking up some tools – including a circular saw belonging to her husband.”
The arrogant thief coolly turned to Mrs Stevens and asked if she needed to get into her property!
“She told him she lived there and said she had seen him come out of her gate.
"He replied: ‘No I haven’t. I am just fixing my tools. I have been doing work a couple of doors down.’
“She said that he didn’t seem in any rush to get away and was acting very casually, “ he added.
But when Mrs Stevens shouted for her son, Smith scarpered, dumping the tools in a nearby lane.
Days later he stole registration number plates from a Nissan – which were found on another car parked in Cranbrook.
On the same day, on January 6, he broke into a house in The Street, Wittersham stealing a purse and a Fiat Panda belonging to the homeowner Janet Snelling.
Mr Wright said the car was later found at a breaker’s yard in Bilsington in Ashford.
The same month, Smith went to Court Lodge Farm, The Street in Great Chart, smashed his way into a parked car and stole a bag, containing £100, and a Satnav.
And then he stole a sit-on mower from a house at Budds Farm Cottages in Wittersham but loaded it onto a nearby truck – not realising it couldn’t be driven.
Within days he was caught on CCTV cameras at The Oast House in Great Chart stealing a copper heating cylinder and then going to Ripley’s Scrap Yard in Mersham, where he took a Toyota Corolla.
“The manager James Bulley was standing at the gate of his yard when the Corolla drove past him.
“Well that clearly amused someone in the public gallery!” - prosecutor Trevor Wright as Smith's pals laughed at the evidence
"Mr Bulley recognised the driver who was sticking two fingers at him, “ said the prosecutor.
It was then that Mr Wright rebuked Smith’s three friends – including his girlfriend – for laughing saying: “Well that clearly amused someone in the public gallery!”
Smith had also gone to JJ Jewellers in Ashford where he switched rings and then went to Homelands Golf Centre in Ashford in September when he went into a staff-only area but was disturbed by a club worker.
Elizabeth Whelan, defending said Smith had gone on “ a drugs binge” but claimed he was now “completely clean” of drugs.
She said the change to his behaviour – before the relapses in September – was because of his new relationship and now wanted to “get out (of prison). get married and get help”.
He was given a total of 18 months for the offences which included burglary, attempted burglary, going equipped for theft, theft, taking a car unlawfully and driving while disqualified and without insurance.
Click here for more news from Ashford.
Click here for more news from around the county.