A GANG of burglars who targeted homes across East Lancashire including Nelson, stealing more than £80,000 of property, have been sentenced to a total of more than 15 years imprisonment.
The four from Bradford – Michael Darling (20), Zeeshan Khan (19), Zahir Hussain (18) and Joesel Rohman (26), appeared at Preston Crown Court.
All four were convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary. Darling was sentenced to four years; Khan was given three years nine months; Hussain was jailed for 30 months and Rohman was sentenced to five years.
A fifth man, Mehtab Ahmed (33) from Pudsey, was also convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary. He will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on February 28th.
The gang carried out 26 burglaries at homes in Nelson, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley. Asian heritage jewellery, money and electrical items were among the items stolen – a haul worth around £80,000.
Their conviction follows an extensive investigation by Lancashire Constabulary’s Eastern Division Targeting Team, during which officers carried out forensic and CCTV inquiries and mobile phone analysis.
They were arrested last year, shortly after committing three burglaries in Blackburn. A member of the public called the police after becoming suspicious about four men who were seen climbing over a garden fence.
As a result of the information she gave, officers were able to track the car they were travelling in and four suspects were arrested in Shipley, West Yorkshire. Rahman, who managed to escape, was arrested after further inquiries.
Det. Insp. Ian Whitehead, who led the investigation, said: “All five men travelled into Lancashire with the intention of breaking into people’s homes to steal valuable jewellery and other items.
“Their offending was incredibly calculated. In the main, they would target Asian heritage jewellery but they would also steal electrical items and money.
“We launched an investigation after an increase in burglaries in towns across East Lancashire, which had happened over a number of months. There appeared to be a specific pattern to the offences, which gave us a number of lines of enquiry.
“It is with thanks to the passer-by who contacted the police with important details about the offenders and their vehicle. Her quick thinking and vigilance proved crucial to their initial arrest and demonstrates the value of information from members of the public.
“Burglary is an intrusive crime which can leave victims feeling devastated. We will continue to do all we can to reduce burglary and target those involved.”
Anyone with information about burglary or who sees anything suspicious should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.