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Brampton, near Beccles, man Adrian Ling sentenced after criminal damage spree against former employer Goldline Travel

A 63-year-old who, alongside an accomplice, was linked with dozens of incidents of criminal damage against his former employer has been jailed.

Adrian Ling, of Woodside in Brampton, near Beccles, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court today after being found guilty of conspiring to commit criminal damage and four counts of possession of a firearm with criminal intent.

Ling denied the first charge but was convicted alongside his co-defendant Daniel Garrison in November after a two-month trial.

Adrian Ling will spend eight years behind bars. Picture: Suffolk Police
Adrian Ling will spend eight years behind bars. Picture: Suffolk Police

Ling worked as a mechanic for Goldline Travel, based in nearby Ellough, before he was dismissed in 2012, the court was told.

Over a period of several years, police received 83 reports of criminal damage against Goldline property and company vehicles.

Taxis were followed and shot at with air rifles from an open window in a car, which shattered glass and damaged bodywork.

On four occasions, taxis had passengers in them whilst being pelted and while none were injured, in one incident, a driver was.

During other incidents, the culprits poured corrosive fluids on cars, smashed wing mirrors and slashed tyres.

It was estimated that over £136,000 in damage was caused in total.

During their investigation, police exhausted a number of inquiries which included looking at CCTV, ANPR footage, analysis of phone data in addition to victim and witness statements.

Eventually, they discovered Ling and Garrison were getting vehicles and cloning registration plates to avoid detection.

The court heard that Garrison brought a second-hand Ford Focus on January 20, 2016, which he registered under a false name and an address at Boasts Industrial Estate in Beccles.

A red Focus was later found in the vicinity of incidents of vandalism against Goldline vehicles.

On April 15, 2016, CCTV cameras at Moors Industrial Estate in Ellough captured a red Focus with cloned plates entering the site and driving past a Goldline taxi, where a window was shattered, the court was told.

Garrison later tried to sell the vehicle on social media. A police officer contacted him on June 24, 2016, to arrange a viewing at Boasts Industrial Estate, but did not give his identity and turned up without uniform.

Ling and Garrison were seen chatting at the scene, linking the pair.

Garrison also drove a Ford KA for other incidents of criminal damage down the line.

Ling and Garrison were arrested on September 21, 2016, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

Their homes and vehicles were searched and several items, including two air rifles, metal wheel bearings, tapered rollers, mobile phones and a cloned registration plate.

Two shortwave radio scanners were also seized, believed to have been used to monitor communications between staff at Goldline, as well as to call dispatchers and taxi drivers.

Ling will spend eight years behind bars.

Garrison, of Framlingham, will be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Constable Andrew Thawley, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a long and complicated investigation with Ling and Garrison taking many steps to try to conceal their crimes against Goldline Travel.

“Extensive enquiries were carried out and, ultimately, the evidence gathered from sources including CCTV, ANPR, forensic analysis (DNA and firearms), communications data, mobile phone records and witness testimony, presented a compelling case linking them to the incidents.

“This investigation reflects a considerable level of teamwork and I would like to give credit to the work done by officers from Beccles Safer Neighbourhood Team in particular.”