Man cleared of four raids on bookmakers

By Cambrian News reporter in Law

A 32-YEAR-OLD man has been cleared of taking part in raids on bookmakers across west Wales.

Mathew Keegan had been accused of burgling Corbetts in Alexandra Road, Aberystwyth; the Lampeter branch of Castle Bookmakers; and the same company’s Aberaeron branch – twice.

Keegan, of Dôl Ystwyth, Llanilar, blamed his nephew Ashley Keegan, who has admitted being involved in all four break-ins.

Swansea Crown Court heard how the raids took place over a four-day period in May 2015.

Castle Bookmakers in Aberaeron were targeted first. On 1 May, burglars broke through a glass door and got away with a safe containing more than £1,000.

At Castle Bookmakers in Lampeter thieves used similar tactics to remove cash from gaming machines and tills.

The thieves returned to Aberaeron, again getting away with cash, before finally breaking into Corbetts in Aberystwyth and escaping with a safe containing £1,500.

Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said a man living near Corbetts had seen two men get out of a car, one holding a sledge hammer. Shortly afterwards he noticed the door to the bookmakers was open and a light was on at 3am.

He noted the registration number of their car and called the police.

Mr Scapens said the car was spotted in Aberystwyth later that day and Mathew Keegan was at the wheel.

A search revealed a bag containing £260 in coins and betting slips and documents from the bookmakers in Aberaeron and Lampeter.

Mr Scapens said automatic number plate recognition technology could place the blue Fiesta in the area of the burglaries at the relevant times.

Keegan said his nephew lived with him and was in the habit of taking his car without his knowledge.

He said he had not taken part in the burglaries and had not been anywhere near the scenes of the break-ins.

Keegan said he had not noticed the bag of coins or the paperwork in his car.

Mr Scapens told the jury he accepted that the prosecution case was entirely circumstantial.

The jury returned unanimous verdicts of not guilty and Keegan was discharged.

Judge Peter Heywood wished him success with his studies at Aberystwyth University.

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