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Tuesday, 17 October 2017
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Monday, 2 October 2017

Persistent minor criminal Ashley Smith gets 5 years jail

Previous prison "rehabilitation" failed and no community support

Report and photographs: Thames Valley Police

Following a Thames Valley Police investigation, a man has been sentenced in connection with multiple offences in Slough.

Ashley Smith, aged 30 of Odencroft Road, Slough, appeared at Reading Crown Court on Monday, 25 September to be sentenced in connection with four incidents which took place between December 2016 and August 2017.

On 15 December 2016, Mr Smith attempted to gain entry to a house on Odencroft Road, Slough to commit a burglary, but was disturbed by the occupants. He was arrested on 15 December on suspicion of attempted burglary and was charged on 24 March this year.

At around 6pm on 29 July this year, a 21-year-old woman was walking through Salt Hill Park in Slough to meet a friend, when Mr Smith cycled past and asked her for a cigarette.

He then stopped to check on his bike chain and as the victim got closer, he pointed a knife at her and demanded her purse. He threatened to cut her face and then grabbed hold of the purse strap and cut it before cycling away with the purse.

Mr Smith was arrested for the offence on 18 August and charged the following day.

On two occasions on 7 August and 8 August this year, Mr Smith entered a secure bike shed on Dundee Road, Slough and stole bikes belonging to two people. He was arrested for both offences on 18 August and charged the following day.

At Monday's sentencing, Mr Smith pleaded guilty to all of the offences and was sentenced to a total of five years in prison. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Robbery in Salt Hill Park: four year custodial sentence, with a two year concurrent sentence for possession of an offensive weapon.
  • Attempted burglary on Odencroft Road, Slough: 12 month consecutive sentence.
  • Two burglaries on Dundee Road, Slough: six month concurrent sentence for both offences.

Following the sentencing, investigating officer PC Edward Elms from Slough Police Station said:

This case related to a knife-point robbery which took place in broad daylight when Mr Smith approached the victim and asked her for a cigarette. He then threatened her with a knife before cutting the strap to her purse and riding off out of the park.

He was also subsequently convicted of other offences he was identified for and pleaded guilty to, which included burglary and attempted burglary.

These were all despicable acts and I am pleased with the sentence given to him. Thames Valley Police will strive to work to bring offenders to justice in this way, especially for offences such as this which have a huge impact on the victims and cause a lot of concern to the public.

I want to thank the victims and witnesses who assisted with these investigations and hope this case will encourage others with any information relating to criminality, or witnessing offences, to come forward so that we can work together to reduce crime.

The Slough Times understands Mr Smith has previously been in prison. We also believe he had been homeless and had slept on Slough's streets.

As the notorious Conservative government minister Michael Howard used to boast Prison Works. If that was true, why do some prisoners re-offend ?

The Slough Times thinks overcrowding in prisons can be alleviated if less people committed jail-able crimes. Public money could be saved by providing genuine community support and guidance to ex-offenders.

Helping people live crime-free lives is a lot cheaper than the expensive costs of jailing them. Preventing crime saves money. It reduces the quantity of victims and the disruption to their lives and the resulting distress.

People in work usually have money to spend. They are less likely to engage in the crimes Mr Smith committed.