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The Oldham-based gang targeted properties across Lancashire and Cheshire including a 99-year-old woman and a family who were at a funeral

An Oldham-based gang who burgled more than 50 homes across Cheshire and Lancashire have been jailed for more than 16 years.

Peter Clarke, James McMillan and Garry Dunkerley ‘ransacked’ houses over a four-month period and hid their ill-gotten gains inside pillow cases taken from their victims’ beds.

The gang broke in through rear doors and conservatories stealing ‘vast amounts’ of cash and jewellery, with either ‘high monetary or sentimental value’.

Their eldest victim was a 99-year-old woman from Nelson who lost two platinum diamond rings and a half-sovereign gold necklace.

Another family in Fence, Lancashire, had their £12,000 Toyota stolen while they were out at a funeral.

McMillan, 29, of Spring Street, Oldham, Dunkerley, 43, of Heron Street, Oldham and Peter Clarke, 27, of HMP Forest Bank all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Burnley Crown Court.

McMillan and Dunkerley were both jailed for six years and Clarke was jailed for four years and eight months.

The court heard how Clarke had previously been sentenced for two years and four months last year for two other house burglaries with 30 others being taken into account.

Jonathan Dickinson, prosecuting, told the court how father-of-three Clarke was arrested in December 2013 following a burglary in Alsager.

Subsequent telephone analysis showed Dunkerley, and another man still wanted by police, were in the area at the time and also on other dates ‘corresponding with further burglaries’.

In January 2014 they targeted homes in Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Poynton and Knutsford.

The court heard how, following the arrest of all three men, the ‘telephone jigsaw evidence became complete’ and information was passed to Lancashire Police.

Officers were able to link the gang to 50 burglaries across Lancashire using mobile phone and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) evidence.

Three of the burglaries in November 2013 involved pensioners in their 70s and during one incident in Barrowford, £8,500 of jewellery and £1,500 cash were stolen.

David Farley, defending McMillan, said he couldn’t find any paid work, got into debt using a loan shark and ‘acted out of desperation’.

Vanessa Thomson, defending Clarke, said he needed to pay of ‘drug debts’.

Manchester Evening News

Colin Pearson owes over £3,000 to the courts, and stole a month after his last appearance – but was spared jail

Colin Pearson leaves South Tyneside Magistrates Court. (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Colin Pearson leaves South Tyneside Magistrates Court. (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

A career thief who has had “all forms of punishment” to stop him breaking the law is back on the take.

Colin Pearson targeted Wilko and Poundland on his latest shoplifting spree.

Once banged up for burglary, he owes over £3,000 to the courts – yet none of it has stopped him offending.

“He’s a man who has had all forms of punishment,” admitted his long-term solicitor, Susan Grey.

“There’s not one thing which seems to have deterred him.”

The dad-of-two was given a community order in August in a bid to curb his booze-fuelled theiving.

But a month later he was stealing again.

In blatant view of CCTV, he stole £189 of Duracell batteries – selling them for just £30.

“They are all low-level shop thefts – they are not sophisticated,” added Ms Grey.

“When the money for drink has run out he goes out and steals.”

Alcohol was described as a “demon” in the 38-year-old’s life and the catalyst for most of his offending.

However probation workers claimed Pearson, who pleaded guilty to theft, was finally making progress on a community order which had acted as a “lifeline”.

“It has been a huge success for him,” added his solicitor.

Despite that, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard he was facing another stint behind bars after admitting the Sunderland shop thefts.

But his eight-week jail sentence was suspended for 18 months after a passionate plea from his solicitor.

“[Prison] has always left him coming out with broken community ties,” added Ms Grey.

She said it simply ended in him getting in more trouble, adding: “Any long term hope with this defendant has to be in the community.”

Chronicle Live

Prolific burglar Jacob O’Dell threatened to rape children and chop off a person’s head with an axe.

This is the first picture of a prolific burglar who threatened to rape children and chop off a person’s head with an axe.

Jacob O’Dell, 21, was sentenced for a raft of crimes on Monday (October 9) including charges of using threatening and abusive words to cause harassment, racially related harassment, three burglaries, thefts from cars and shops, attempted theft, criminal damage of his grandmother’s home and driving offences for driving without insurance and not in accordance with a licence.

O’Dell was sentenced for 14 separate offences and given credit for his guilty pleas for all charges.

He was jailed for a total of 30 months in prison, and also given eight penalty points on his driver’s licence.

The court heard that on one occasion O’Dell hurled abuse at a passing cyclist in St Andrew’s Street.

After a confrontation O’Dell shouted: “I’m going to stab you and chop your head off with an axe.”

Jacob O'Dell, who has been sentenced to 30 months for a raft of offences

Jacob O’Dell, who has been sentenced to 30 months for a raft of offences

Whilst in custody in May 2017 O’Dell urinated all over the floor of his cell before threatening to rape supervising officer, PC Tumber’s children, saying: “You f***ing p*ki c**t I’ll rape your kids.

“EDL mate, go back to your own country.”

During sentencing Judge Cooper called the abuse hurled at PC Tumber “vile”.

Mr Snelling, mitigating for the defence, said O’Dell lashed out because he was frustrated at being detained after he joked about concealing drugs.

Mr Snelling said: “Mr O’Dell said he had five Kinder eggs worth of drugs in his rectum, this was a joke he thought would be funny to tell police.

“It was not true.”

On previous occasions O’Dell also threatened to kill a security guard after he was caught attempting to shoplift.

O’Dell was also sentenced for burglary after he smashed his way into a house and stole priceless family heirlooms leaving his victims “feeling sick”.

He also admitted to two other burglaries from 2012.

On another occasion in April 2017, O’Dell barged into his grandmother’s house and demanded to know where his axe was and asked for money.

Worried, his grandmother left her house before getting a phone call from O’Dell to tell her he’d “kicked all the doors in”.

When she returned two of her doors were broken and had been ripped off their hinges.

Mr Snelling said O’Dell committed his crimes to “fit in” and that he is of “limited thinking skills”.

Cambridge News

A gang who were involved in a major burglary conspiracy targeting businesses and mosques across Lancashire, have been jailed for a combined total of 22 years and six months.

Individual sentences ranged from 8 month suspended to 5 year’s imprisonment

Liam Cumberland, 27, of Lytham Rd, Blackburn; Sean Cumberland, 32, of Accrington Rd, Blackburn; Carl Cumberland, 31, of Thwaites Rd, Oswaldtwistle; Daniel Darani, 31, of Douglas Place, Blackburn; Darren Jeal, 42, of Eldon Rd, Blackburn; James O’Neil, 30, of South St, Darwen and Stuart Ainsworth, 40, of Shaw St, Blackburn all appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

Liam Cumberland was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment; Sean Cumberland was jailed for 5 years for the burglary conspiracy and drugs offences, Darren Jeal was sentenced to 4 years for the burglary conspiracy and drug offences; Darani was given 3 years 4 months for his part in the burglaries; Carl Cumberland was sentenced to 2 years 10 months for the burglaries. O’Neil was given an 8 month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. Ainsworth’s sentence was adjourned due to ill health.

A further two men were also sentenced for their part in the series of offences; 43-year-old Shaun Lever, of Windsor Rd, Knuzden, was given a 2 year supervision order after pleading guilty to handling stolen goods and 51-year-old Ronald Straeker, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 2yrs 3 months after pleading guilty to one burglary, one thefts and an offence of handling stolen goods.

All nine were arrested after an investigation by Eastern Divisions Target Team following a large number of burglaries at mosques, businesses and restaurants in the Blackburn, Accrington, Great Harwood, Burnley, Colne and Preston areas. The gang, who targeted the premises between February 2011 and September 2012 stole cash and goods valued at approximately £88k.


“Secret Room”

During the investigation, which was codenamed Operation Prism, officers uncovered a make-shift “secret room” containing property which had been stolen from B&M Bargains. The room, which had been constructed by creating a partition within the back bedroom, was found after police raided Carl Cumberland’s house on Thwaites Road.

Detective Sergeant Tim McDermott said: “They deliberately targeted local businesses and mosques with each gang member having a different level of involvement in these pre meditated and calculated attacks.

“The effects of their crimes go far beyond the value of the property they stole. Some of the small businesses they stole from suffered and continue to suffer severe financial difficulties. One company was forced to make 21 employees redundant as a direct result of their losses.

“Not only did they steal charity money from the mosques but they took community documents which had been left for safe keeping. We should not underestimate the impact these thefts had on our local communities who were left feeling violated.

“They did their utmost to frustrate the police investigation at every turn and today’s sentences should demonstrate our determination to support local business and communities whilst targeting criminals and bringing them to justice.”

Blackburn Life

Story from July 2013.

Frank Lewis used the pets in his hunting game with his dogs

cats

A teenager stole cats from an animal sanctuary to use as “live bait” for his dogs to hunt down to kill.

Frank Lewis, 18, slit one of the cat’s legs to slow it down while he used the pets in his hunting game with his dogs.

A court heard the teenager broke into the purpose-built cat sanctuary late at night and stole a cage with ten cats which were being nursed back to health by volunteers.

Georgina Buckley, prosecuting, said: “Lewis essentially used the cats for sport. He used his dogs to hunt down and kill them.

“He caused lacerations to the cats himself to try and hinder their escape.”

Miss Buckley told Swansea Crown Court that three cats were found mauled to death in different spots near the sanctuary in Neath Port Talbot.

Four were found alive and returned but three others are still missing and presumed dead.

Ms Buckley added: “Post mortem gave the cause of death as the result of an attack and having been shaken viciously by an animal, like a dog.”

The court heard Lewis set up his sick game just two weeks after he was sentenced in a youth court for a gruesome attack on a sheep.

Lewis stole the sheep from a field and strung it up upside down to a tree, before cutting its head off with a machete. He then posed for photos next to its bloodied carcass and posting them on Facebook.

The police were alerted and Lewis, who is unemployed and on benefits, was given a referral order at Swansea Youth Court.

But he then went on to strike at the Ty Nant Cat Sanctuary at Port Talbot just days later with a 15-year-old accomplice.

Theresa Ahmed, owner of the sanctuary, read out a victim impact statement in court, where she called Lewis “pure evil and beings without a soul.”

Ms Ahmed, who built the sanctuary on the grounds of her family home and has run it with her husband since 1990, said: “The burglary has changed my life forever.

“The sickening realisation that cats were missing and what had happened to them will remain with me for the rest of my life.”

She said she had fallen during the search for the cats, and sustained injuries to her spine for which she was waiting for the results of an MRI scan.

Mr Herd, defending, said Lewis accepted responsibility for the burglary and the deaths of the cats.

He said: “Lewis concedes his dogs were trained to hunt and he knew full well about what the outcome would be.”

Mr Herd said Lewis, whose mother committed suicide five years ago, had been seen by child psychologists after decapitating a sheep, who concluded he showed “psychopathic traits” and signs of a personality disorder.

He pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal damage at Swansea Crown Court where he appeared for sentencing.

Judge Paul Hopkins told Lewis his acts added with his “extreme right-wing views on race and sexuality” meant he was “dangerous.”

Judge Hopkins said: “You tortured a sheep before beheading it, and then took a photo such was your satisfaction at what had been done.

“You then broke into a cat sanctuary and stole 10 cats. You used them as bait for your dogs.

“They are acts of great cruelty amounting to sadism.”

Lewis, of Croeserw, near Port Talbot, was sentenced to 30 months in a young offenders institute.

His 15-year-old accomplice, who was found not to have taken part in the killing of the cats, was given a nine month curfew order earlier this month.

Speaking after the hearing, Inspector Tim Hopkins, from South Wales Police, said: “This was a particularly awful crime against defenceless cats. The outpouring of emotion from the local community – and on social media from across the world – highlights the impact of Frank Lewis’ heinous actions.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their support during this investigation which resulted in the two males involved being brought before the courts.

“Thanks to a thorough investigation, and along with today’s outcome, it sends out a clear message that South Wales Police takes all crimes seriously and will ensure that offenders will be brought to justice.”

Wales Online

Notorious thieves Gregory Hawkshaw and his son Danny Hawkshaw left trail of destruction

Gregory Hawkshaw (left) and son Danny Hawkshaw (right) admitted burgling 12 churches across Southport and West Lancashire

Gregory Hawkshaw (left) and son Danny Hawkshaw (right) admitted burgling 12 churches across Southport and West Lancashire

A father and son burglary team who ransacked fifteen places of worship have been jailed over their disgraceful spree.

Shameless Gregory Hawkshaw, 45, and Danny Hawkshaw, 23, left a trail of destruction in overnight raids across Southport and West Lancashire.

The drug addicts targeted churches across Ainsdale, Southport and Scarisbrick, making off with hundreds of pounds in cash, laptops, projectors and televisions.

When the pair were set to be sentenced last November, Danny – who was on bail – failed to attend Liverpool Crown Court.

Meanwhile Gregory, of no fixed address, brazenly requested a deferred sentence, claiming he could retrieve some of the stolen goods.

His son, of Sandbrook Road, Ainsdale, went on the run, living in a tent in Preston, and was not caught by police until Christmas Eve.

Today Judge Robert Warnock said some of the kind-hearted parishioners from the churches had offered the pair forgiveness.

But jailing them both, he said: “This was invasion of these places of worship. I owe a public duty in respect of these matters.”

The pair were caught when blood matching Gregory’s DNA was recovered from the scene of one of the burglaries.

They admitted burgling Ainsdale Methodist Church in Liverpool Road overnight on September 30, stealing two laptops and a projector.

Paul Becker, prosecuting, said they broke their way in using a fire extinguisher, took the CCTV hard drive and smashed a window.

The duo also admitted raiding St John’s Anglican Church, also in Liverpool Road, on October 10, when they took a £300 laptop.

A vestry door was pulled completely off its hinges and they caused an estimated £1,000 of damage.

Mr Becker said they confessed to 13 other break-ins, which were to be taken into account. These included raids on:

St Mark’s Church in Southport Road, Scarisbrick, where £400 of cash was taken
St James’ Church in Lulworth Road, Birkdale, where a TV, laptop and cash worth £1,380 were taken
St Peter’s Church in St Peter’s Road, Birkdale, where a projector and two laptops were stolen
Lord Street West United Reformed Church, Southport, where £30 in cash and a laptop was taken
St John’s Church in Rufford Road, Crossens, Southport, where a laptop and projector were taken

Gregory, formerly of Bank Street North in Southport, was first convicted of burglary when he was just 11-years-old.

He was locked up after stealing two expensive mountain bikes from a Southport garage with his son in December 2013.

The dad had the gall to claim he only struck at the garage – and four other homes – to try to pay off his cannabis smoking son’s drug debts.

On that occasion, Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, said: “You commit offences because you are an inherently dishonest man who was burgling houses and sheds years before your son was born.”

Rebecca Smith, defending Gregory, admitted his record was “appalling” and said he was trapped in a “vicious cycle of drug addiction and offending to facilitate that addiction”.

Nicholas Archer, defending Danny, said it was “very sad” to see a father and son before the court, but his client did not seek to blame anyone else.

He said: “He feels he’s let himself down and it’s safe to say he feels let down by his upbringing, but he accepts he is the author of his own misfortune.”

Judge Warnock said Gregory’s record was “disgraceful”, adding: “You too Danny Hawkshaw have started off in the same way as your father.”

He jailed Gregory for four years and Danny for three years, plus three consecutive months for “running away from what you knew you were going to face”dh

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Southport Visiter

A woman sprayed a fire extinguisher in the face of a vulnerable burglary victim so she could steal her purse containing just £2, a court heard.

Kelly Nuttall was jailed for aggravated burglary

Kelly Nuttall was jailed for aggravated burglary

Kelly Nuttall, 35, sneaked into the Webster Court sheltered home, off City Road, as the 56-year-old victim had left her door open while she was sitting up through the night watching the EU referendum results on TV in her lounge, Norwich Crown Court heard.

When the victim confronted Nuttall, she refused to leave and sprayed the fire extinguisher in the face of the victim, who suffered stinging in her eyes.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said that when the victim told Nuttall once more to get out of her home, she had squirted the victim in the face again before taking her purse containing £2 and a bank card.

Nuttall was later arrested and in interview told police that she wanted to go back to prison so she could get off drugs.

Nuttall, who appeared via video link from Peterborough prison, admitted aggravated burglary on June 24, this year, and was jailed for five years, four months.

Jailing her, Judge Stephen Holt said that the victim had been vulnerable and said it had been a “traumatic experience” for her.

He said it was Nuttall’s fourth burglary conviction and said she also had previous convictions for violence. However, he accepted that Nuttall also had difficulties including mental health problems and said: “You were on crack cocaine at the time and told police you wanted to go back to prison to get clean again.”

Gavin Cowe, for Nuttall, said that she deserved credit for her early guilty plea and said she had a number of personal difficulties including mental health problems.

Eastern Daily Press

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