Tesco and Budgens burglar stole thousands of lottery scratch cards blaming benefit cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:01 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:40 05 May 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant


A smash-and-grab raider who stole hundreds of scratch cards was caught when he tried to cash in his winnings.

Robert Bastin. Picture: Exeter Crown CourtRobert Bastin. Picture: Exeter Crown Court

Robert Bastin wore a balaclava and gloves when he used a sledge hammer to break into shops in Sidmouth and Exmouth.

The 25-year-old then discarded his disguise when he went to collect money for ten winning cards, which had all been flagged as stolen.

When police saw the CCTV he was recognised as a previous offender, with 61 convictions.

Officers tracked down Bastin and caught him red-handed with a huge hoard of stolen scratch cards inside a stolen car on Woodbury Common.

He tried to flee into undergrowth but left a trail of cards, before he was tasered after trying to fight off police.

Bastin, of Mill Road, Honiton, admitted two burglaries and handling stolen goods and was jailed for two years and four months at Exeter Crown Court today (April 3).

Judge David Evans said: “There was greater harm to the stores because of the extent of the loss and damage you caused. The burglaries were planned and you were equipped with a sledge hammer and false number plates for the stolen car you were using.”

Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said the VW Polo Bastin was driving was stolen by others from a house in Honiton on March 25 and then used in the burglaries on March 30 in Sidmouth and April 1 in Exmouth.

Bastin used a long handled sledge hammer to smash the glass front door at Tesco Express in Sidmouth at 3.30am and stole 701 scratchcards and 25 bottles of champagne and whisky. The total value was £2,014 and there was around £6,000 damage and loss of business.

The attack was caught on CCTV but he was wearing a balaclava and yellow gloves. A neighbour noted the number of the Polo as he fled.

He tried to cash in ten winning scratch cards at shops in Torquay, Uplyme and Lyme Regis, but they had been flagged as stolen so left empty handed.

Bastin used the sledge hammer to smash the front window of Budgens in Exmouth and stole the entire National Lottery scratch card cabinet. There were around 2,000 cards and he caused £500 worth of damage.

Police were already looking for his car and found him in a car park on Woodbury Common at 2.40am.

They found the stolen National Lottery cabinet and hundreds of scratch cards on the ground, along with the orange work gloves, sledge hammer, a crowbar, home made balaclava and the false number plates used in the Sidmouth burglary.

Lee Bremridge, defending, said Bastin worked as a gardener and his partner as a carer but they were struggling to support their five children because of cuts in benefits.

He said: “These were all attempts to make money. It was not for luxuries but to provide for his family.”

Mr Bremridge said Bastin hopes to qualify as a welder while in custody so he can get better paid work when he is released.

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