A CRIMINAL who was part of a “burgling team” which targeted commercial sites in two Cumbrian towns has been jailed for five years.
Sean Owen McDonald, 49, had denied being involved as intruders illegally entered the compounds of four Penrith businesses and one in Kendal in December, 2016.
But after a trial at Carlisle Crown Court, McDonald was this afternoon (THURS) convicted of six offences. These were three thefts, two charges of going equipped for theft with a hacksaw and pair of wire-cutters, and one attempted theft.
McDonald’s crimes occurred on three separate nights in December, 2016, when many thousands of pounds worth of vehicles and other property was stolen. A trail of damage and destruction was left behind.
Wire-cutters were discarded at one site at Mardale Road in Penrith, and a hacksaw found near the point of illegal entry at a Shap Road yard in Kendal. McDonald’s DNA was found on both tools.
In addition, some stolen loot – including an Iveco flat-bed truck stolen from a Penrith vehicle recovery garage, and a £17,000 JCB mini-digger snatched from Kendal – was recovered by police less than a mile from McDonald’s home at Clapham Green in Middlesbrough.
Giving evidence, he could offer no explanation for the damning DNA finding. Jurors heard he’d racked up a host of burglary and other dishonesty crimes during the 1990s and 2000s while living in Carlisle, and committed his first break-in aged just 13.
Judge Simon Medland QC said of the 2016 offences: “This was serious, sophisticated, professional offending.”
Detective Chief Inspector Helen Harkins said “These crimes have had a huge impact on the businesses financially and a wider effect on the owners, workers, and customers, who use these local businesses on a daily basis.
“The conviction and sentencing today of McDonald reflects the seriousness of the crimes and that Cumbria Constabulary will leave no stone unturned to bring offenders to justice.“