FOUR men have been jailed after a Lake District tourist attraction was repeatedly burgled, and a family’s home also targeted.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how Carl James Nicholson, 26, and Samuel Anthony Wallace, 29, were involved as a remote and unoccupied West Cumbria house was entered unlawfully during the daytime on November 22 last year. Thousands of pounds worth of belongings were snatched.
Nicholson was then involved in the second of three burglaries at Honister Slate Mine, near Keswick, on December 7. His partner-in-crime for that commercial break-in was 24-year-old Nathan James Dryden, who was also involved in two copycat crimes at the Lakes attraction on December 4 and 31.
Judge James Adkin heard moving impact statements had been provided by the victims of what the court heard were “targeted” offences.
The mother whose home and business were both broken into was left “terrified”, and prosecutor Tim Evans said: “She finishes her moving statement with a number of rhetorical questions: asking if the people who behave like this really understand what they are doing; if they do, frankly do they care?” Her daughter, who discovered the house burglary, spoke of being “absolutely petrified” and “scared beyond belief” that the culprits might still be inside.
Nicholson, previously of St Nicholas Avenue, Flimby, admitted burgling the home and slate mine. He was jailed for five years, eight months.
Wallace, of Moss Bay Road, Workington, admitted the house burglary and was locked up for three years.
Dryden, of Castlerigg Close, Whitehaven, admitted three burglaries. A former Workington Reds footballer, he was jailed for 27 months.
A fourth man, Lewis James Smith, of Latrigg Road, Mirehouse, admitted being involved in one slate mine burglary. He was sent to prison for 18 months.
Detective Sergeant Calvin Greaves, speaking after the sentencing, said: “We will not tolerate burglars targeting any kind of properties.
“Those who do so can expect to face a police investigation and prosecution.
“Businesses provide employment and contribute to the west Cumbrian economy.
“An attack on them is not a victimless crime – it hits people’s livelihoods.
“These three men thought they could enter where they shouldn’t be and take what didn’t belong to them.
“Our investigations and the work of our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service have brought them to justice.
“They will have time now to reflect on what they have done.”