Cumbria Crack

Burglary gang member jailed after family home was targeted and castle “looted”

Wayne McDonald

A MAN who was part of a criminal gang which burgled a family’s home and “looted” an historic flood-damaged castle has been jailed for more than three years.

Intruders struck at a family’s house in Wetheral during January, 2018, while a woman and her children were inside. The female heard a noise just before midnight, and discovered the following morning that a large television and valuable golf clubs had been snatched during a burglary of the garden and a garage. She later described feeling “unnerved and vulnerable”.

Several days later, historic Armathwaite Castle, Armathwaite, was targeted while the listed building was empty and under renovation. Around £4,000 worth of property was stolen.

In his statement, the occupant said: “It is difficult to put into words the horror and distress of walking through your home and seeing it ransacked; drawers pulled open; treasured items stolen and doors kicked in.” He added: “The castle had been very seriously damaged by the 2015 floods and I feel that it has been looted in what was a planned and callous attack on what should be inviolate: one’s home.”

Two remote businesses in the Wetheral and Brampton areas were also each burgled twice, leaving staff at each keeping watch at night in fear of repeat offending.

Wayne Andrew McDonald, 26, was later arrested by police. McDonald, of Burnett Road, Carlisle, initially denied being involved, but later admitted one offence of conspiracy to burgle, and two burglary charges. He was described as “junior member” of the criminal group, although nobody else has yet been brought to justice.

McDonald was jailed for 40 months by Judge Nicholas Barker.

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