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Thugs ordered to repay just £1 after tying up pensioner to steal £450k and a war medal

Police at scene of stabbing in Walton Cardiff

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Eriks Valants, 23, and Jed Martin, 27, were each jailed for 10 years in April after admitting stealing the valuables – which included a Military Cross medal awarded during World War 2. After the pair broke into Susan Hunt’s £1million house near Stockbridge, Hants, they demanded that she tell them the code for her safe before tying her to a banister, a court heard.

A pillowcase was put over her head while they raided her home for what “felt like hours”.

While she was tied up, the pair gave her water, fruit and a yoghurt, before leaving her six-bedroom house, which has a swimming pool, believing she would remain tied up for at least 24 hours.

But Mrs Hunt eventually managed to bite her way through the black tape to free her hands enabling her to call police who dashed to the address.

On the night of the break-in, the two men had made four attempts to get into the detached house and cut out a pane of glass from the swimming pool area.

When police arrived, officers found a knife that had been left outside the property.

The 72-year-old pensioner was left feeling “traumatised, disoriented and frightened to live in her home” after the ordeal on March 23 last year.

Items they stole included a Cartier ring, Omega watch, three-string pearl necklace, and David Morris pearl and diamond necklace with matching earrings, worth around £215,000.

The heartless pair also stole Mrs Hunt’s father-in-law’s treasured Military Cross medal from World War 2, along with a letter signed by King George.

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None of the items have been recovered.

Despite a court ruling that the two men had made a total of more than £450,000 from their crimes it found they could not pay back more than £1 each.

They were jailed at Winchester Crown Court in April after each admitted a single charge of robbery, proceedings began to recover funds Martin and Valants, both of Southampton, Hants, had obtained from their offending.

Last week a hearing at Winchester Crown Court ruled the benefit figure for each of their offending was £231,146 – a combined total of £462,292 – but the available amount left was deemed to be zero.

The court decided a nominal £1 charge should be ordered for each, which must be paid within 28 days or seven days imprisonment in default.

However, if any assets are recovered, prosecutors can seek an order in a higher sum.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Thomas Bailey said: “When leaving the address, the two offenders left the victim taped to the bannister knowing it would be twenty-four hours until her next visit.

“This result follows a complex investigation, by officers across Hampshire Constabulary, who worked to secure the evidence over several months to achieve justice for the victim.

“Jed Martin and Eriks Valants took steps to conceal their involvement from police and avoid detection, however the strength of the evidence ultimately gave them no option but to admit their guilt.”

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