The getaway driver of a gang of burglars caught breaking into a Gloucester phone shop has “abused the refuge” the UK has given him, a court heard.
Iraqi Sabah Abdulla used his state-funded new Vauxhall Insignia car to drive across the country and wait outside the Barton Street shop while his accomplices crowbarred their way in.
Abdulla was jailed for 10 months at Gloucester Crown Court after being found guilty of his part in the break in on July 23, last year.
Prosecutor Nick Fridd said the 40-year-old had not worked since moving to the UK, got the new car just months earlier through the government’s Motability scheme and lived off benefits.
Mr Fridd said: “He sought refuge in this country from problems in Iraq and since then he has abused the refuge.”
He told the court Abdulla had cautions for benefit fraud in 2008 and had been found guilty of spitting at a police officer in the following year.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC, jailing him for 10 months, said he hoped Abdulla would have to return the £18,000 car.
He said it seemed Abdulla, the oldest man in the gang could have been the leader and said the incident had “all the hallmarks of an organised little team”.
The court was told an eagle-eyed student was up later studying and called police when he spotted the break-in of J Telecom Mobile Phone and Laptop Repair.
The thieves used a crowbar to open up the shutter before 37 telephones with around £3,000 were put into a carrier bag.
During Abdulla’s trial the court was told police found Karzan Salim, 23, from Dark Road, Birmingham, hiding under the counter of the shop.
The student said the other man went around the corner to Victoria Street where police found Abdulla, who was said to be unable to work because of shrapnel wound, from in his Vauxhall Insignia.
Abdulla from Willoughby Court in Nottingham attempted to drive off, but was stopped by police.
Defending Sarah Jenkins said Sabah, a father of two daughters, had been the victim of a bad attack some years ago and eager to move from his current neighbourhood.
She said his English wife of 18 years and their children had been living in small flat.
Abdulla Ahmad, 39, of Shooters Hill Road in London was also found in the car on that evening.
He was jailed for eight months after admitting the burglar, while Salim, who also pleaded guilty to the offence, was jailed for six months.
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a new car directly through their disability living allowance, and if the Department for Work and Pensions decides a person can no longer receive the benefit the lease is terminated.
A spokesman for the scheme said: “The terms and conditions of the Motability Scheme state that customers have an overall responsibility for the use and condition of the vehicle. Motability acts against those who breach our terms and conditions of use and where criminal activity or misuse is proven or strongly suspected; we may remove the car immediately or refuse to enter into further leases. Motability works with a range of partners including Police, the DWP and local authorities to tackle any misuse of Scheme vehicles.”