Man from Exmouth convicted of Welcombe attack

Aged 29, from Exeter Road, Exmouth, Ashley Drew was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday 27 February for aggravated burglary.

Drew pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to an aggravated burglary where 2 men forced entry into a holiday home, brandishing an axe and a crowbar, and gaffer-taped 2 innocent holidaymakers in their 50s from whom they demanded £3000. The incident took place at The Old Barn in Welcombe, between 9-10 pm on Saturday 15 September. The men ransacked the cottage and took £100 from the woman’s bag.

Detective Constable Ben Cartwright from Bideford CID, said: “Two black men wearing balaclavas with regional accents from the West Midlands forced entry into a house whilst armed.

“The occupants were holidaymakers visiting the area from Hampshire. They were tied up and assaulted before the suspects stole phones and cash before fleeing the area.

The armed burglars, wearing balaclavas, tied up the terrified tourists from Hampshire (who were staying in a cottage in Welcombe) to steal their cards and cash.

Devon Live has reported:

The attackers fled when they realised they were at the wrong address but left the victims trussed up in gaffer tape on a sofa. They smashed their phones and took their car keys to stop them raising the alarm.

Drew was working for an illegal money lender from the West Midlands and was recruited because he lived in East Devon and was thought to know the area.

Police found the axe on the boot of his car after he was traced by DNA on the gaffer tape. His phone showed he had been in Welcombe on the night of the attack and had taken photos of the cottage before the attack.

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