Jail for trio who plotted Ribble valley burglary spree

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A TRIO of thieves who came to the Ribble Valley on a late-night burgling expedition have been sent to jail.

Father-of-two Brian Ormonde (25) drove Hamza Akram (18) and Aaron Carlos (19) to Barrow, where a single mother’s home was raided as she slept and a garage targeted. They then moved on to Pendleton, where an eagle-eyed member of the public spotted two men trying house doors and called the police, Burnley Crown Court heard.

A month later, Carlos, along with Justin Butterworth, a 26-year-old father-of-two, stole carpet from the unoccupied house next door to where he then lived in Grange Street, Burnley. Carlos had also been in court for burglary a month before the Clitheroe stealing plot.

Ormonde, of Baker Street, Burnley, was jailed for two years. Akram, of Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors, received 29 months after clocking up his fourth house burglary and Carlos, of Berkeley Street, Nelson, received two years and three months. They all admitted conspiracy to burgle, last July.

Carlos and Butterworth, of Willis Street, Burnley, admitted burglary. Butterworth, a one-time prolific shoplifter, walked free from court after a judge said she did not see him as a danger to householders. He was given 36 weeks in custody, suspended for a year, with 12 months’ supervision.

Passing sentence, Judge Beverly Lunt told Ormonde, Akram and Carlos: “It’s people like you who lead to people living in fear.”

She added the only way to show the public their homes would be protected and to deter others was to impose custodial sentences.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Ormonde, Akram and Carlos left their first victim in Barrow very upset, after her laptop and credit cards were taken as she slept. The defendants then took an old laptop from a garage in the village.

From Barrow, the men went to Pendleton. At 11-30 p.m. a man heard someone tampering with his back door, saw two males walking away and kept watch. He saw one man looking through a window of a house before going to another property and looking through the window while another tried a door.

Miss Statham said police caught the defendants a short time later. All the stolen property was in the vehicle. Akram had a watch in his trousers when he was searched. The three men were all questioned, but none made any admissions.

Carlos was bailed and stole carpet from a house under renovation with Butterworth. Police found them either in the property or coming out. All the defendants had criminal records.

For Ormonde, Mr Philip Holden told the court: “This is one case which is unusual and can unusually be dealt with by way of a suspended sentence.”

Mr Richard Hartley, defending Akram, said he had been living on the charity of friends, had been taking cannabis and had to find funding. He was no longer taking drugs.

Defending Carlos, Mr Roger Baldwin said he had thought the three of them were going to smoke cannabis. He continued: “I think the phrase ‘easily led’ was probably designed for my client.”

The barrister added Carlos wanted to become a youth worker, saying: “It might seem surprising, but they do say poachers make the best gamekeepers.”

Mr Kevin Preston, representing Butterworth, said he had managed eight years without offending. The solicitor added: “It is sad almost, that he comes before the court for an offence which is far more serious than anything he has previously committed.”