Crime gang jailed

Crime story

Crime story

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A CRIME gang involved in a cross border crime spree over the summer of 2013 have been jailed.

Lee Makin, 30, and Daniel Atherton, 28, both from Leigh admitted conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle.

Lee Harper, 33, from Atherton admitted conspiracy to rob and Nicola Wright, 39, from Warrington admitted conspiracy to burgle.

At Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday, 17 October, Makin and Atherton were both sentenced to seven years in prison, Harper to eight years in prison and Wright to two years in prison.

All four were charged as part of a complex and protracted investigation into 33 home and business burglaries and thefts from motorcars as well as five violent armed robberies.

All offences occurred between May and July 2013 across Leigh and Warrington.

In the majority of cases the burglaries were committed in order to steal cars, which would then be fitted with false registration plates and be used to commit business burglaries or robberies.

The offences in the main were committed by Makin, Atherton and Harper.

During commercial robberies the gang would attempt to remove rolling shutters by tying a rope from the shutter to a car and driving off. If successful they would smash their way into the building and steal goods from within.

They were also responsible for five business robberies at various premises, including a letting agent, amusement arcade and garage. Members of the public or staff were present throughout these incidents and all but one happened during daylight trading hours.

Staff or members of the public were threatened and intimidated during the robberies.

Wright – Makin’s girlfriend - would be used to drive Makin around and was also involved in handling the stolen goods.

On 18 July, 2013, Nicola Wright was seen driving in tandem with a saloon car. The saloon car, which was being pursued, drove off at speed and an officer from Cheshire Constabulary - who was aware of an ongoing pursuit - followed Wright and subsequently pulled her over. Items stolen in a previous burglary were recovered from her car.

The pursuit of the saloon car continued into Wigan and Leigh from Cheshire, followed by traffic officers and air support.

Makin and Atherton abandoned the car on Queensway in Leigh and officers on the ground were directed to their location by air support.

An operation was then launched between Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Constabulary to look into the trio. Officers scrutinised outstanding theft and robbery offences in Cheshire and Greater Manchester. Phone evidence linked them to Harper.

Approximately £94,000 worth of property was damaged or stolen over the course of their offending.

Detective Constable Lynsey Watson, said: “It is no exaggeration to that say that these four terrorised the Leigh and Warrington areas over a period of several weeks.

“Collectively they conspired to commit serious acquisitive crime for their own ends and did not at any point give a second thought to the trail of devastation they left behind.

“They targeted businesses and homes indiscriminately, moving from shops to garages to an amusement arcade. Even a letting agent wasn’t outside their remit, proving just how arbitrary their offending was.

“A lot of time and effort went into identifying this gang and bringing them to justice and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved for helping us get to this point today.

“We have secured lengthy sentences against a dangerous gang of organised criminals who do not shy away from serious offending and this result is great news for everyone, particularly the residents and business community of Wigan and Warrington.”