Doncaster crooks targeted shooting club for guns and stole poorly dog

Rikki Lount stole a Nissan Navara from the car park of Orston Shooting Ground, on Bottesford Lane, Orston, in Nottinghamshire, on September 1, 2019. The dog, four-year-old "Austin", was recovering from an operation on his leg in the back, and his frantic owner borrowed another vehicle to search for the thief, said prosecutor Hal Ewing. The truck, which contained 750 shotgun shells and a GBP140 jacket, was later recovered and the dog was reunited with his owner.

Rikki Lount (left) and Lee Wilburn. Copyright: Other 3rd Party

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Lount gave his own phone number and address when handing the dog in at kennels in Doncaster, said his barrister Cheryl Dudley. "He seemed to have a warm relationship with the dog," she said. "He was concerned about its welfare."

Lount returned to the club with Lee Wilburn to steal a 12 bore Beretta 692 shotgun, worth more than GBP2,000, which the owner, a female PhD student, left in a rack while chatting with friends. CCTV showed they were dressed for game shooting, but "neither defendant seems to have known much about shotguns" as they selected two low-value guns from the shop and left them by the rear door, ignoring another gun worth GBP15,000. Mr Ewing described how they returned to the club on November 19, and were seen looking into cars and discussing whether they had any keys, but they were challenged and drove off in a Volvo.

They were stopped in the car, with false number plates, by South Yorkshire police the next day. The Volvo had been stolen from a car valeting service in Sheffield three weeks earlier. Lound was driving, and he accepted handling stolen goods.

The court heard he was banned for dangerous driving in 2013. Mr Ewing said Lount has 13 convictions for theft, driving and failures to comply with court orders. He was jailed for three years for conspiracy to supply heroin in 2015.

Wilburn has 16 convictions for theft and 23 for fraud, and recently served 14 weeks in prison. Cheryl Dudley, mitigating, said they "are not the most educationally able and the crimes were not sophisticated." "They are opportunist thieves," she said. "They were genuinely interested in outdoor pursuits when they went to the club the first time."

But Judge Julie Warburton said she was sceptical, and suggested they could have been dressed up so as "not to stand out like a sore thumb." At the time, Lount was on a community order for shoplifting and Wilburn was on licence and was recalled to prison until February next year. Lount, 30, of Ravensworth Road, and Wilburn, 30, of Austerfield Avenue, both of Doncaster, pleaded guilty to theft and going equipped for theft.

Lount also admitted theft of a vehicle, handling stolen goods, driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The judge sentenced Wilburn to 15 months and Lount to 28 months.

Lount was also banned for 26 months after his release and must take a re-test.

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