Cumbria Crack
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Man on trial following commercial raids in two Cumbria towns

Carlisle Crown Court

A MAN accused of being part of a criminal gang which raided commercial sites in two Cumbrian towns has gone on trial.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court heard this afternoon (TUES) how a spate of high value night-time crimes occurred on four separate nights in December, 2016. Thousands of pounds worth of property was stolen and damage caused.

Businesses at Mardale Road in Penrith and on the town’s Gilwilly industrial estate were entered illegally on three of those nights by crooks who stole vehicles and equipment. A pair of wire-cutters was recovered from one site.

On the fourth and final night, a business premises on Shap Road in Kendal was entered when a padlock was cut, and property valued at around £18,000 – including a JCB mini digger – was pinched. A hacksaw was found near the front gate.

Sean Owen McDonald, 49, has gone on trial and denies nine charges. Five allege theft, two allege going equipped for theft with wire-cutters and a hacksaw, one alleges burglary and another alleges attempted theft.

Opening the case to jurors, prosecutor Tim Evans said there was a “one in one billion” chance that DNA found on both the wire-cutters and hacksaw during forensic analysis did not belong to McDonald.

“These are offences committed by thieves and burglars travelling from the North East, from Middlesbrough, to Cumbria,” said Mr Evans, “perhaps thinking pickings were better.” Mr Evans alleged: “These offences are all related and all committed, say the Crown, by Sean Owen McDonald.”

McDonald, of Clapham Green, Middlesbrough, made no comment when interviewed last September – after the DNA hit emerged – by police investigating the raids. His trial continues.

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