The faces of criminals locked up in August in Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire

Throughout August, a number of people were sentenced to time in prison in the Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire areas. The offences ranged from criminal damage to involvement in a drugs conspiracy, with one man trying to get rid of a weapon on the shelf of a local convenience store. A fugutive who was wanted across Europe for fraud charges was eventually brought to justice this month.

The criminals in this article have accumulated around 40 years of jail time between them.

Jailed for stealing fuel and fleeing the scene

Ilie Dobrescu (left) and Ion Stoian (right) have both been sentenced to 18 months in prison

Ilie Dobrescu and Ion Stoian were each sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison after they were caught stealing fuel from two lorries in Taunton. In the early hours of July 9 2019, Dobrescu, 36, and Stoian, 31, were discovered by the owners of two trucks who had awoken to find the two men siphoning fuel from their lorries. The truck drivers confronted the two men, who were using pipes connected to their own 44 tonne Romanian HGV, before the pair fled from the scene.

The speeding lorry was located by Avon and Somerset’s Road Policing Unit who safely stopped the lorry and arrested both men. A multi-agency investigation then took place, involving Avon and Somerset police officers, staff and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). The investigation found the lorry to be carrying thousands of pounds in cash and hundreds of secreted fuel.

Further investigations also uncovered the use of a tachograph electronic data record – a radio-sized device fitted on goods and passenger vehicles which digitally records various types of driver and vehicle data such as journey distance, speed, driving time and driver’s activity – and magnet which alters tachograph records. The lorry was also found to have serious defects and was prohibited from being driven. The two men were charged with two counts of theft from a motor vehicle, producing a false record with intent to pass it as genuine to an inspector and possession or control of an article for the use of fraud.

Both men pleaded guilty at Taunton Magistrates Court on July 10 and were remanded in custody until they were sentenced at Taunton Crown Court on August 2. The pair will be deported upon release and are disqualified from driving for 21 months.

Locked-up for conning a woman out of her life savings

The faces of criminals locked up in August in Avon, Somerset and WiltshireMark Acklom sentenced to almost six years in prison

Mark Acklom, 46, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after tricking a woman into having a relationship with him in order to steal her life savings, before going on the run across Europe. He posed as an MI6 officer, a Swiss banker and a wealthy property developer with links to the celebrity world as part of a sophisticated romance scam.

Acklom met Carolyn Woods in January 2012 at a shop where she worked in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. He began a relationship with her but failed to tell her he was already married with children and, instead, proceeded to con her out of her life savings, including money from the sale of her house. Acklom promised Ms Woods that he would commit to marrying her and led her to believe that he needed money to renovate a number of expensive properties in Bath, including Widcombe Manor which she believed would be their marital home.

Acklom then went on the run, eventually being tracked down in June 2018 at a luxury apartment in Zurich, by Avon and Somerset Police, the National Crime Agency and the Swiss Federal Criminal Police. He was detained and extradited back to the UK to await trial. On August 7, 2019, Acklom faced trial at Bristol Crown Court for eight counts of fraud by false representation and 12 counts of converting criminal property.

He entered guilty pleas relating to five offences of fraud totalling around GBP300,000 and the remaining 15 charges will now lie on file. Sentencing Acklom, His Honour Judge Martin Picton told him he had acted in a “ruthless and utterly selfish manner” in spinning a number of lies and that there was “precious little mitigation” for his crimes.

Sentenced for their involvement in a Swindon drugs conspiracy

The faces of criminals locked up in August in Avon, Somerset and WiltshireDean Mulholland The faces of criminals locked up in August in Avon, Somerset and WiltshireMarcus Mawire

Three men were sentenced to a total of 26 years imprisonment for their involvement in a class A drugs conspiracy to supply to users in Swindon. Nahkell Gordon, 32, of Eastwood Close, Woodford, Marcus Mawire, 24, of Milton Regus, Sittingbourne and Dean Mulholland, 28, of Limes Avenue, Pinehurst, Swindon, all pleaded not guilty to the offence but were later found guilty following a trial at Bristol Crown Court on August 14.

On the evening of September 7, 2017, officers found a kilo of cocaine worth GBP200,000 in a vehicle they had been observing. The vehicle travelled from Swindon to Hendon and later to Waltham Abbey before returning to Swindon. The investigation was led by the Specialist Crime Department at Wiltshire Police, who found that each man had their own role to play within the conspiracy.

Gordon acted as the coordinator and facilitated the supply of the class A drugs to Swindon, while keeping his distance from the drugs themselves. Mawire and Mulholland, however, were involved in the onward distribution of the drugs in Swindon and collection of the gang’s ill-gotten gains. The three men were sentenced as follows:

  • Nahkell Gordon was sentenced to nine years imprisonment
  • Marcus Mawire was sentenced to eight and a half years imprisonment
  • Dean Mulholland was sentenced to eight and a half years imprisonment

Criminal damage while under investigation in Salisbury

The faces of criminals locked up in August in Avon, Somerset and WiltshireNicholas Lowe was jailed for numerous offences in Salisbury

Nicholas Lowe, 56, of Endless Street, Salisbury, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to a string of offences in Salisbury, including damaging three police cars.

In the early hours of February 24, 2018, Wiltshire Police were alerted by Wiltshire and Dorset Fire and Rescue, to a fire in Salisbury’s Central Car Park, close to Sainsbury’s. An intoxicated Lowe had contacted the fire service to inform them that he had started a fire close to an area in which rough sleepers were staying. In addition to this, he had damaged ceiling lights of the car park, as well as the wing mirrors of five vehicles, with a wooden bat.

When officers arrived on the scene, Lowe used the bat to damage the bonnet of their police car and when arrested and searched by police, he was found to be carrying a knife. While Lowe was released under investigation, on November 17, 2018, he used an aerosol can and bottle of white spirit to set fire to two police cars in College Street Car Park. The estimated total costs incurred for both incidents was around GBP7,000.

Lowe appeared at Salisbury Crown Court on August 12, 2019, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of arson, possession of a bladed article in a public place, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and criminal damage. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Driving while disqualified and possession of a taser

The faces of criminals locked up in August in Avon, Somerset and WiltshireLuke Wild sentenced to 20 months in prison for numerous offences

Luke Wild, 30, of All Cannings was sentenced to 20 months in prison for a number of offences, after he was found to be in possession of a taser. Wild was spotted driving his vehicle while disqualified to Morrisons Local fuel station on London Road, Devizes.

Inside the store, he could be seen on CCTV hiding a taser among items on a shelf in an attempt to dispose of the weapon. Wild appeared at Winchester Crown Court on August 9, where he pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon, using a vehicle without insurance, possession of a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid, driving while disqualified and possession of a class B drug.

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