First two of Badvent criminals face justice

Daniel Collins

Trevor Francis

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

A PAIR of criminals caught during the Oxford Mail’s Christmas Badvent campaign have been hauled before the courts.

Drug addict Trevor Francis and homeless burglar Daniel Collins faced justice at Oxford Crown Court after appeals to find them were published.

Collins was behind the first window of our Badvent calendar, while Francis was behind window three.

Francis received a 12-month suspended sentence for shoplifting and possession of an offensive weapon, while Collins will be sentenced after admitting two break-ins and stealing a bicycle.

Their court appearances come after police received more than 100 tip-offs from Oxford Mail readers during our festive name-and-shame campaign, dubbed Badvent.

It revealed a face of a suspect each day in the run-up to Christmas.

Francis, 33, admitted stealing £100 of festive gift sets from Boots in the Oxford Retail Park in Cowley on August 27 last year, but was spotted by a store employee who called the police.

He also admitted possessing an offensive weapon – a pair of scissors – during a robbery at Lloyds Pharmacy in the Square, Botley, on November 20.

Graham Smith, prosecuting, said: “Mr Francis was approached by two members of staff and he told them not to touch him.

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“He produced a pair of scissors and held them flat against his own chest and the shop staff allowed him to leave.”

Francis, of Warburg Crescent, Blackbird Leys, has 44 convictions for a range of offences including burglary, battery and theft.

He also asked that a further five instances of shoplifting from last year be taken into consideration.

Lucy Tapper, defending, said: “Mr Francis is now 33-years-old and has been addicted to class A drugs since he was just 13.

“He was used by his father to commit criminal offences, so against that background it is perhaps not surprising that he has such a record of offences over the years.”

Francis was handed a 12 month suspended sentence for possessing the scissors and a four month concurrent suspended sentence for stealing the gift boxes.

Meanwhile, Collins, 25, broke into two houses, first in Church Cowley Road and then in Drove Acre Road, East Oxford, in the morning of November 22 last year.

At the first property he stole a pair of Phillips headphones and a black leather wallet.

He also helped himself to a can of Guinness from the fridge and then took two bottles of vodka from the second house, providing police with two DNA samples which allowed them to track him down.

On the same night he also stole a push bike from a property in Campbell Road, Church Cowley, and committed another attempted burglary in Church Cowley Road, which he asked to be taken into consideration.

Recorder Antonio Bueno said it was clear Collins, who admitted the offences but has no previous convictions, had not acted alone and was “very vulnerable to the influence of others”.

He will be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on a date still to be decided and was remanded in custody.

THE OTHER SUSPECTS

So far since we started our Christmas Badvent Calendar for 2012 five people have been arrested.

We revealed a face a day of suspects Thames Valley Police wanted to trace in the run-up to Christmas.

Officers said that important information had also come in about another five and they thanked readers for their help.

Six suspects were arrested after our first Badvent Calendar in Christmas 2010.

Last year’s campaign saw another six caught.

  • Anyone with information about any of our Badvent suspects should call Thames Valley Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org

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