Wales

Rhyl brothers jailed for 'brazen' lead thefts at schools

Three brothers responsible for a series of "brazen" lead thefts across north Wales have been jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years.

Ashley Critchley, 23, and his brothers Jenson, 28, and Kyle, 20, of Rhyl, Denbighshire, stole mostly from schools, Caernarfon Crown Court heard.

Their crimes resulted in a repair bill of almost £18,000 and left pupils at risk of being struck by falling slates, the court was told.

The three admitted a range of charges.

The court heard the brothers targeted primary and high schools at Rhyl, Rhuddlan, Conwy, and Prestatyn, as well as building sites.

Prosecutor Gareth Parry said Ashley Critchley told police a house on a building site was targeted three times.

"On one occasion he waited for builders to replace the stolen lead before taking it again," Mr Parry said.

The brothers received £3,500 from a scrap metal merchant after 33 visits between January and August last year, the court heard.

Defence counsel Brian Treadwell said Ashley and Jenson Critchley "came clean" with police.

Kyle Critchley's defence counsel Elen Owen said: "What he says is he started off, as did his brothers, quite legitimately selling items of scrap. They realised it was an easy way to make money."

Ashley Critchley was jailed for 22 months for 12 thefts and one case of handling stolen property.

Jenson Critchley was imprisoned for 20 months for six theft and 13 handling offences.

Kyle Critchley was sentenced to 14 months for three thefts and six handling charges.

Judge Philip Hughes told the trio: "What you were doing represented brazen, repeated, large-scale, persistent offending which was well-planned.

"You were acting as a group and simply for greed."