South Shields serial criminals jailed after owner tracked stolen items using an Apple AirTag

Three serial criminals are behind bars after they received a haul of stolen goods that contained an Apple AirTag which was easily tracked by the owner.
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Burglars had raided a family home and made off with a mountain bike, a £2,500 watch, personal belongings, credit cards and the keys to a Citroen C3 motor, which was also taken.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the couple, who had a small baby, were devastated when they realised their property had been under attack.

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But some of the stolen belongings were traced to handlers Freddie Newman, Gemma Campbell and Grant Hunter- thanks to the AirTag tracking device that was amongst the stolen items.

Prosecutor Paul Cross told the court: "An AirTag was linked to the occupant's phone and the AirTag was last registered at the home of Hunter and Campbell, where Newman was a visitor.

"CCTV shows the car being broken into.

"The car and proceeds of the burglary were taken straight to Hunter and Newman, where they unloaded the property."

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court. (Photo by National World)The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court. (Photo by National World)
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court. (Photo by National World)

Mr Cross said it was clear the stolen goods were clearly "expected" to arrive after the house raid last June and added: "Gemma Campbell was seen, clearly aware the stolen goods were being brought in."

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The court heard when police went to the address, as a result of the AirTag registration, Campbell answered the door and "numerous items from the burglary" were inside.

Mr Cross said the family experienced "fear, worry and anger" when they woke up to find their home had been raided.

They said in a statement the affect on their lives have been "horrific" and added: "No-one deserves this."

Newman, Hunter and Campbell all admitted handling stolen goods.

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Newman, who already has convictions for a staggering 213 offences and was on two community orders at the time, also admitted burglary at a chip shop where £249 worth of food was taken, burglary at a staff-only area at a pub where a purse and bank card was taken, four offences of breach of a restraining order and assault on an emergency worker.

The assault charge related to a police officer who was helping restrain Newman at Sunderland Royal Hospital, where he was struggling violently and shouting threats.

During the violence, a needle from a cannula in Newman's hand pierced the police officer, who still faces ongoing tests to check if she has contracted any infectious disease.

The officer said in a statement she fears she could have contracted HIV or Hepatitis and added: "I have to live with the unknown. It is constantly on my mind."

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Cambell, who was on a suspended sentence for burglary at the time and has 95 previous convictions, also admitted an unrelated charge of common assault after she spat at a worker in B&Ms.

Newman, 33, of Soane Gardens, South Shields, was jailed for a total of four years.

Campbell, 39, of Downham Court, South Shields, was jailed for 30 months.

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Hunter, 46, also of Downham Court, who has 190 previous convictions, was jailed for 40 months.

The court heard all three have a history of drug problems which they have been taking steps to address while in custody on remand and have made good progress.

Brian Mark, defending Newman, said: "He does not have any infectious disease."