Communities including Whittington, near Lichfield, have been hit in recent weeks by crooks stealing high-powered cars.

Police say thieves take the vehicles to use as getaway cars in crimes elsewhere.

Now a case in Stafford Crown Court has thrown light on the sort of villainy these people are involved in.

Ruthless crooks

Three vicious brothers and their accomplice were today convicted of a series of offences across the West Midlands.

First they stole Mercedes, VWs and Audis from homes in Staffordshire and elsewhere.

Brothers Gavin (33), Thomas (23) and Lee Cotterill (29), and Adam Cheshire (21), struck security guards at a Barclays Bank, in Burntwood, and made off with £15,000.

The criminal quartet, all from Wolverhampton, also targeted shops, garages and cash transit vehicles.

All guilty

Gavin Cotterill and Cheshire were found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to burgle homes and commercial premises.

Thomas and Lee Cotterill pleaded guilty to the same offences at an earlier hearing.

They will all be sentenced next month.

But the court action has not stopped others bent on committing the same kind of crimes.

Last month criminals smashed through reinforced double-glazed patio doors at a property in Chapel Lane, Whittington, in search of the keys to a BMW.


They parked a large white van on the street outside to make it seem they were workmen visiting the house.

None of the people who saw the van became suspicious.

No one raised the alarm at the sound of crashing glass as they broke in.

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Man’s ear bitten off in Rugeley

A Bloxwich man has been arrested on suspicion of biting off a 21-year-old’s ear.
The alleged attack took place in Rugeley in the small hours of Saturday, May 27.
Police were called to the scene at an Esso service station on Western Srpings Road just after 2.35am.

Serious injuries

The 22 year old male casualty was rushed to hospital in Nottingham suffering from serious injuries.
A man wearing a bloodied t-shirt was seen walking past the local leisure centre with two other men.
He was later arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Plea to witnesses

He was then released pending investigation.
People who saw the incident are asked to ring the police, on 101.
They should quote incident 103 of May 27.

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Farewell Martin & Stef – see you soon!

Doghouse Folk Club

Alrewas' musical and literary legend: Martin Ryan.

Our March Doghouse folk night in Alrewas was an emotional switchback.

There was huge sorrow at Martin Ryan and Stef Dziuba retiring as club hosts.

And there were ecstatic responses to a superb series of brilliant acts.

Stage and screen

None were better than star soprano, Sarah Ryan, of the international touring trio, 'Access All Arias'.

More accustomed to the limelight in Milan, Rome and London, she came to sing a loving tribute to her father, Martin.

His wife Pam looked on as their second daughter, Theresa, then rose to recite a home-penned poem in her husband's honour.

Welsh talent

The Welsh clan put in a star performance too, carrying on a tradition begun by the late John Welsh, who sang with Martin long ago in their band, ‘The Moonshiners’.

Doghouse Folk Club

The Welsh family - packed with talent: (left) Jayne, Dave, Tom, Louise and John.

Tom Welsh was a revelation, giving his exquisite take on Ed Sheeran’s, ‘So In Love’ - how long before Sheeran’s doing Welsh covers?

Doghouse Folk Club

Indispensable: multi-talented Sharon is a key element in the trio including Jayne and Louse Welsh.

John Welsh (son of the original) put in a brilliant performance on six-string bass. It was the thread running through a series of numbers. 

A fine guitarist, Pete, gave us, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ (Crowded House). A poignant choice given the occasion.

Down to earth

But it was not over, not quite anyway. Matchless Lancastrian, Dave Naylor, belted out another perfectly selected number about, “a dear owt’ friend”.  Nor will his, 'Pizouf", be quickly forgotten.

Dave's deft banjo picking also took the Doghouse back to its traditional folk roots. And very deep roots they are.

Martin founded the club, in Walsall, around 50 years ago. It has had many venues since.

Doghouse Folk Club

Huge hug: (right) Sarah Ryan and her sister, Theresa.

Its latest move was from Alrewas’ Crown pub to its current home in the village’s outstanding Royal British Legion Club.

Bigger & better

More room has meant many more people have been able to come along to enjoy the music. And the club’s superb staff have helped make every visit a joy.

This month there was an overspill since there was simply not enough space in the performance area to contain everyone who had come to wish Martin and Stef farewell.

So it was wonderful to hear them both promise to return and play floor spots whenever they can.

New Doghouse era

Doghouse Folk Club

Sorting out the sound: (left) Stef Dziuba hooks up Dave Naylor.

A group of their friends has come together to keep the folk club going under the only banner it could ever have, ‘The Doghouse’.

Martin’s third daughter, Katie Measham, sent a personal message to everyone in the Doghouse family:

Thanks to all dad and Stef’s loyal fans for helping him end on a high.

What an amazing and emotional evening it was. I’m sure he will be back to entertain again as a floor singer in the new-look Doghouse.

We need to keep those fingers moving! Gook luck to all the new organisers who will be stepping up to keep this fantastic club going.

The next Alrewas’ next folk night is due to be held on Tuesday, April 4, starting at 8pm.

Performers are already lining up to put on a show that would make Martin and Stef proud.

More details will follow.

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