Lancaster jewellery thief jailed after series of burglaries

Gareth Hunt.
Gareth Hunt.
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A cache of jewellery dumped in the Lancaster canal after being stolen during a series of burglaries has been reunited with its owners.

The items – including a watch, necklaces and bracelets – were found after an underwater search team dredged the canal close to Aldcliffe Road, following the arrest of offender, Gareth Hunt.

Jewellery found at the bottom of the Lancaster canal after a burglary has been reunited with its owners.

Jewellery found at the bottom of the Lancaster canal after a burglary has been reunited with its owners.

Hunt, 37, of Barley Cop Lane, Lancaster, was sentenced on Friday May 26 to six years in prison in relation to burglaries which occurred between December 30 2016 and January 28 this year.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to the offences and, after being charged, had revealed to officers where he had disposed of some of the stolen items.

The Regional Underwater Search Team spent two days in April looking for the jewellery. The items they found had mostly come from a house on Scotforth Road.

The other burglaries occurred at residential addresses on Aldcliffe Road, Portland Street, Quernmore Road, Lindow Square, Wingate Saul Road, Westbourne Road, Meadowside and Dorrington Road, and a business premises on Church Street.

In each incident Hunt gained entry to the properties – often while the occupants were at home and asleep – before making off with items including jewellery, tools, cash and electrical items, among other things.

DS Sam Johnson, of Lancaster Police, said: “Hunt targeted several addresses across the city, giving no thought whatsoever to the effect his actions were having on his victims. Several of the stolen items had a huge amount of sentimental value. Many of the victims say they no longer feel safe in their own homes.

“I am satisfied with the sentence which has been handed down by the courts and hope it offers some form of closure to the victims, while giving Hunt time behind bars to consider the consequences of his actions.

“We also hope it shows that we, at Lancashire Police, are committed to tackling burglary and bringing offenders to justice.

“I am also extremely pleased we have been able to locate some of the stolen items and reunite them with their rightful owners. The underwater search team spent a difficult two days navigating the murky depths of the canal but thankfully their hard work paid off.”

Hunt was sentenced for four counts of burglary in a dwelling, one count of handling stolen goods, one count of going equipped, one count of possession of class A drugs and five counts of burglary taken into consideration.