A 50-year-old man from Liverpool has been jailed for a total of five and a half years for burglary and car crime, including a incident in Bath last January.
Anthony Whelan was sentenced on Friday 9th February in Bristol Crown Court following his conviction for offences in Bath and Portishead.
A jury had earlier found him guilty of:
- A burglary in Bath in January 2017 in which high-value jewellery was stolen;
- A burglary in Portishead in March 2017 in which high-value jewellery was stolen;
- The theft of two vehicles from Long Ashton in March 2017.
Whelan was arrested in Cheshire on Sunday 30th July 2017 after being circulated as wanted.
He has been identified as a suspect through forensic investigation and when an investigator recognised him on CCTV.
None of the stolen jewellery – with a total estimated value of more than £150,000 – has been recovered.
In a personal statement about the impact of the burglary, one of the victims described many months spent getting their lives “back on track” and how their insurance recouped less than half the value of the stolen jewellery.
They had further significant expenses after being required to travel to China and Hong Kong to replace personal documents.
On top of the financial impact of the break-in, they explained that it had left them “emotionally distraught” and feeling unsafe. Much of the stolen jewellery was unique and irreplaceable, with great sentimental value as it was bought for their wedding.
Recorder Oba Nsugbe QC told the court: “These burglaries involved a great deal of planning and preparation. You have previously been sentenced for burglaries at Luton Crown Court, Guildford Crown Court and Bristol Crown Court.
“The least I can give you due to the seriousness of these offences is five and a half years.”
Dai Nicholas, who investigated the break-ins as part of Operation Oblique, which targeted offenders involved in high-value gold burglaries, said: “I want to thank the victims in these cases for their full support for this prosecution, and Cheshire Police for their part in bringing this offender to justice.”
The police have taken the opportunity to highlight some important advice, including:
- Locking up and setting the alarm at night as well as when you go out;
- Hiding your keys and handbag or wallet safely out of sight;
- Never leaving keys in the back of the door or window;
- Keeping cash in the bank and high-value jewellery with a specialist secure storage company, not at home;
- Keeping photographs and a description of items with sentimental value;
- Using a traceable asset marking liquid on jewellery or antiques;
- Keeping tools locked up in a secure shed or garage;
- Making sure garden furniture and wheelie bins can’t be moved to gain access to upstairs windows;
- Joining Neighbourhood Watch
You can find more home security advice, including information on joining Neighbourhood Watch, on the police website, www.avonandsomerset.police.uk
Locals can help to keep our communities safe by keeping their homes secure, joining Neighbourhood Watch and just as importantly reporting suspicious incidents as they happen.
Remember, if you see someone acting suspiciously around a neighbour’s property, call the police straight away. If they’re obviously breaking in, ring 999. Otherwise, call the non-emergency number 101: police operators are on hand 24/7.