Man caught handling stolen farm equipment

Charlie Hughes has been sentenced after a stolen tractor and trailers were found in Fosse Road, Ilchester
-Credit: (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)

A man has been sentenced for handling farm equipment stolen in Somerset. Charlie Hughes, of Fosse Way, Ilchester, was arrested back in 2021 after police officers began investigating reports of a stolen trailer.

Taunton Crown Court, sitting at North Somerset Courthouse, heard how Hughes, 27, was arrested alongside two other people on August 25, 2021 after officers from the Rural Crime Team, neighbourhood, intelligence, roads policing and patrol teams visited Fosse Way to carry out enquiries.

A full investigation was launched and machinery and trailers were recovered during the operation. Avon and Somerset Police officers later established that one of the tractors and two trailers had been stolen. Months later, another tractor found at the same location was also confirmed to be stolen.

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Hughes pleaded guilty to four counts of handling stolen goods and on Friday, June 21 was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to complete a 10-day rehabilitation activity, participate in a 29-day programme, carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, and pay £187 to the court in victim surcharge.

Sgt Katie Maun, from the Rural Crime Team, said: "This conviction is testament to the collaborative working between several teams, with a joint aim of protecting our rural communities.

“This outcome would not have been possible without the fantastic support of the officer in the case, DC Fran Rolli.

“Although the sentence was a suspended custodial term, we firmly believe this conviction sends out the message that we take rural crime seriously and will work hard to bring offenders to justice.”