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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




Southport Visiter

Gregory Hawkshaw once claimed he was stealing to help his son get OFF drugs

Gregory and Danny Hawkshaw

Gregory and Danny Hawkshaw

Britain’s most shameless father and son are currently awaiting sentence after admitting ransacking twelve local churches.

Gregory Hawkshaw, 45 of no fixed address but formerly of Bank Street North in Southport, and his son Danny Hawkshaw, 23, of Sandbrook Road in Ainsdale in Southport, pleaded guilty today to smashing their way into places of worship in places including Birkdale, Ainsdale, Banks, Scarisbrick, Halsall, Churchtown, Crossens and Southport town centre.

But the pair are no strangers to crime – with dad Gregory getting his first burglary conviction when he was just 11 years old.

He was jailed as recently as June this year, when he was recalled to prison for breaking into a business at Birkdale Trading Estate on Liverpool Road in Southport on May 2.

He committed his latest break-in while on licence, triggering his return to prison.

He was previously jailed in July 2014 for two years and three months for breaking into a garage on Kirkstall Road, Southport, and making off with two expensive mountain bikes.

The owner of the garage had installed CCTV cameras, which recorded Hawkshaw breaking into the garage with his son, Danny.

He set up the camera to send an alert to his phone if it was activated and at 3am four days after Christmas in 2013 the alert sounded.

When he got there the thieves had gone but he was able to hand in a video of their bungled burglary. Police recognised them and were able to arrest them four months later.

When interviewed Gregory Hawkshaw, 43, denied it was him but his son confessed it was “obvious” who had burgled the bikes.

Hawkshaw senior then admitted to the break-in and a string of other burglaries at four separate houses on Arundel Road.

Jailing Hawkshaw, Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, said: “You say you committed the offences to help pay off your son’s drug debts. You commit offences because you are an inherently dishonest man who was burgling houses and sheds years before your son was born.”

The judge jailed Danny Hawkshaw for ten months, saying: “You cannot hide behind your father. You are quite capable of committing offences without him and do so frequently. You are in danger of going down his route.”

In September 2011 Gregory Hawkshaw was jailed for 12 weeks for stealing power tools from garden sheds.

He pleaded guilty to stealing from sheds on Cumberland Road and Rutland Road at North Sefton Magistrates Court.

Angela Conlon, prosecuting, told the court: “The householder on Rutland Road called the police to say she had spotted two figures walking down her garden path.

“Officers were deployed to the location and the police received a second report which said that two males had been seen in a garden on Cumberland Road.”

Ms Conlon added: “Hawkshaw told police he had no money for food and he had gone from garden shed to garden shed looking for something to steal so he could sell it.”

They will be sentenced for their latest crimes on November 24.

Liverpool Echo