A 25-year-old man has been jailed for stealing David Cameron’s father-in-law’s mobile phone while trespassing on his estate.
Sir Reginald Sheffield, 74, said that he was left feeling depressed and anxious after three men ambushed him on the grounds of his private estate in north Lincolnshire on 14 April.
Anthony Wilks, from Ealand near Crowle, Lincolnshire, who was on licence at the time, was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Grimsby Crown Court after admitting to robbery.
Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, said Sheffield, who is Samantha Cameron’s father, had gone to investigate a group of men in a car and on a trials bike on his Normanby Estate. He approached the trespassers and went to take pictures of them on his phone before Wilks wrestled the phone off him.
Mr. Evans said: “The defendant reached in and had taken control of his [Sheffield’s] left forearm in an attempt to pull the iPhone. There was a struggle for a matter of seconds. The complainant was to say he felt a mixture of anger and fear as he tried to push the defendant away.”
Dashcam footage recorded Wilks swearing at Sheffield, who could be heard sighing and breathing deeply.
Wilks deleted three of the photographs taken of him and his two companions from Sheffield’s phone but didn’t wipe it.
He was arrested shortly afterwards as the police were able to locate the phone due to its built in track-and-trace device.
In a victim statement Sir Reginald said the incident had left him feeling depressed and anxious to go to more remote parts of his estate.
Gordon Stables, defending, said Wilks, who had 32 previous convictions, felt remorse and wished he had just deleted the photos from the phone and had given it back to Sir Reginald.
Judge Mark Bury said: “You and others were on private land. The complainant who owns the land, Sir Reginald Sheffield, was 74 years old.
“He had every right to ask you what you were doing on his land because you were trespassing. And he had every right to record you, if in fact that’s what he was doing. You snatched the phone out of his hand after a short struggle. You were trespassing on this property and you had no right to be there, you had no right to behave in this way.”