TWO Wrexham men have been jailed for what was described as a mean and despicable offence against a defenceless man in a wheelchair.
Mold Crown Court heard that victim Daniel Jones, 23, who is confined to a wheelchair, was stalked through the town centre by three men.
One kept him in conversation while another snatched a plastic bag of clothes which he had on his lap and fled.
What the gang did not know was that police had received a tip-off from someone in a pub who had heard them planning what they were going to do.
CCTV operators watched their every move as they followed the wheelchair, and as soon as the bag was snatched by Brian Joseph Chase he ran straight into the arms of waiting police officers.
The court heard that Chase, 39, of Ffordd Fynnon, Maes Pennant, Mostyn, had previously admitted theft and had been jailed for nine months by another judge.
But Judge John Rogers QC said he regarded that sentence as excessively lenient.
John Charles Price, 23, of Trevanna Way, Wrexham, who engaged Mr Jones in conversation, admitted theft and was jailed for 18 months.
Christopher Mark Jones, 35, of Maes y Gornel, Rhos, admitted a theft charge on a joint basis although he was not physically involved, and was jailed for 12 months.
The judge told him that after watching the CCTV footage, he regarded Jones as the ring leader. He was the bigger man, and his role was organising what was going on and indicating to the others where their victim was.
Sentencing Price and Jones, the judge said: 'You were in a pub and spotted a disabled man in a wheelchair. I am quite satisfied you decided to follow him and steal his property.
'Once he was outside and in the centre of Wrexham, in broad daylight, you carefully pursued your quarry.'
Price engaged him in conversation and Chase then stole his property.
'Fortunately, he was apprehended immediately because the police had been informed and were in the vicinity,' said the judge.
'This was a mean and despicable offence against a defenceless man and only a prison sentence is appropriate.'
Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, said Daniel Jones had gone to a pub where he met a friend who had returned from Tenerife with a bag of T-shirts and trousers for him.
But as Mr Jones left the pub, he realised he was being followed and was frightened when the bag was snatched from him.
Mr Williams said the CCTV showed the defendants following and hiding in shop doorways when Mr Jones turned around.
Mark Roberts for Price said he appreciated how serious the offence was, and prepared himself for a prison sentence.
Andrew Green, for Jones, said his client felt aggrieved he was facing a theft charge as he had not been physically involved