Serial gym locker and leisure centre car thief from Coventry back behind bars - The Coventry Observer

13th Aug, 2022

Serial gym locker and leisure centre car thief from Coventry back behind bars

Editorial Correspondent 9th Aug, 2019 Updated: 9th Aug, 2019

A MAN who has made a career out of carrying out sneak thefts from gyms and leisure centres, stealing wallets and keys from lockers and vehicles from car parks, is back behind bars.

Christopher Hanley had denied 17 charges including various offences of theft, fraud and attempted burglary after targeting premises across the Midlands.

But after more than ten hours at the end of a trial at Warwick Crown Court, a jury found him guilty of ten offences of burglary, two of fraud and two of attempted burglary.

Hanley (44) of Sewall Highway, Coventry, whose haul was worth over £177,000, was jailed for five-and-a-half years after the court heard he had been convicted three times before of similar offences.

With him in the dock was Justin Poyner (47) of Foxglove Close, Canley, Coventry, who was convicted of two of the thefts and one of the fraud offences.

Poyner, who had pleaded guilty to a further theft charge on the first day of their trial, was remanded in custody for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him.

Prosecutor Graham Russell said a red Volvo would typically be driven by Poyner who drove and Hanley who would get out of the car and go into the gym.

“He would either try to blag his way in using a false name or simply stroll past reception into the changing room. There he would select a likely locker, and that locker would be broken into and wallets, keys and other possessions removed.

“He would then return to the car park and, using the keys, find and then drive away the vehicle he had selected, only one of which was ever recovered.”

Mr Russell said the offence Poyner had admitted was the theft of a number plate from a car on a car park in October 2016, after which CCTV showed him returning to the red Volvo which ANPR cameras captured en-route to various of the targeted premises.

Mobile phone records and CCTV showed Hanley at gyms, leisure centres and a golf club at the time lockers were being broken into and cars stolen.

A tracker device traced the car back to Coventry.

Hanley also used a victim’s identity to fraudulently obtain an Argos store card on which he purchased goods worth £722, while he and Poyner also used the man’s bank cards to make cash withdrawals totalling £1,360 from his bank account.

Also in October 2016 Hanley stole a coat and wallet from the David Lloyd Health Club in Stevenage, and a week later both men were involved in the theft of an expensive Tag Heur watch and car keys from a locker at the David Lloyd premises in Nottingham.

They also took the owner’s car, and Hanley later used one of his bank cards to get another Argos store car.

At the end of the month Hanley got away with a Breitling Aerospace watch and a BMW from another health club in the Thames Valley region.

And on November 1 he tried to get into changing rooms at David Lloyd health clubs in Worcester and Dudley with intent to steal from them, resulting in the attempted burglary charges.

Jailing Hanley, Recorder Martin Butterworth told him: “Your record demonstrates that you have become a man who is a professional criminal.

“There might be something about you which, if you turned it to lawful conduct, could be promising, but you continue a pattern of offending.”

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