Gang stole from gym lockers in Bolton, Bury and Salford

Bolton Crown Court

Bolton Crown Court

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

THREE men have been jailed after they broke into gym lockers, stealing mobile phones, wallets, cash and keys, and then got away with two cars.

A fourth member of the gang was given a suspended sentence at Bolton Crown Court following the crime spree last August.

The men targeted four gyms in Bolton, Bury and Salford and stole a £15,000 Vauxhall Insignia and a £7,000 Ford Ka.

Miraslav Girga, aged 23, Nathan Ashton, aged 22, Jan Girga, aged 27, and William Bates, aged 19, all pleaded guilty to their part in the thefts.

The gang struck at two gyms in one day, on August 15, first stealing four mobile phones, worth nearly £2,000, from Castle Leisure Centre in Bolton Road, Bury, before striking at Fit City in Broughton, stealing another phone worth £500.

Four days later, they targeted Leverhulme Park Gym, where they broke into the locker of pensioner William Proud.

They stole £70 in cash, his phone and wallet, and the keys to his Vauxhall Insignia, in which they then drove off.

On August 20, Miraslav Girga and Nathan Ashton went to Middleton Arena Gym where they stole a £500 iPhone, a designer watch worth £130, and car keys for the Ford Ka, which they then took.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Davies said: “All four of you were part of a team who targeted leisure centres and sports hall lockers knowing that you would not be approached.

“You forced them open and participated in a target-led theft of cars, money, keys, and phones, with no actual confrontation of whose property that it was.

“They were high-value items. Mobile phones for a thriving black market trade. People rely on them for contacts, passwords and sentimental photographs.

“Easy prey and easy money. You are all members of this consorted team and shared in profits.”

Miraslav Girga, of Paulhan Street, Great Lever, was jailed for two years for his part in the thefts, and a further one year for dangerous driving.

Ashton, of Nottingham Drive, Halliwell, was jailed for 20 months while Bates, of Gloucester Street, Bolton, received a two-year sentence.

Jan Girga, of Brocks Chase, Bolton, received a 12-month suspended sentence, with a two-year supervision order, 200 hours unpaid work and a four-month curfew between 7pm and 7am.

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