Lincolnshire dog theft plot 'amateurish and doomed to fail'

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Some of the stolen dogsImage source, Police issue
Image caption,
Fifteen dogs including a pregnant bitch were stolen in the raid on the kennels

Two couples who hatched a plan to steal 15 King Charles spaniels from a dog breeder have been given suspended jail sentences.

Barbara Petrie-Harrison, 45, and her partner Craig Jackson, 42, admitted burglary after breaking into kennels in Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire, in 2015.

The dogs were found in West Yorkshire at the home of Barry Darling, 51, and Bridget Darling, 40.

Judge Andrew Easteal described the plan as "amateurish and doomed to fail".

Lincoln Crown Court heard Petrie-Harrison and Jackson, from Basingstoke, carried out the burglary after they "got together" with the Darlings.

They climbed over a fence and broke into an outbuilding at a property in Gainsborough Road.

It was reported to the police on 23 September and three days later officers found 11 of the dogs after tracking a black Vauxhall Astra picked up on CCTV to the Darlings' home.

The pair, from Birstall, near Batley, West Yorkshire, and now separated, both admitted handling the stolen spaniels.

'Detected embarrassingly fast'

Prosecutor Lisa Harding said owner Madeline Cowling, who treated her dogs "like babies", believed 15 were taken during the raid.

She said Ms Cowling was not able to positively identify any of the spaniels because they were not microchipped, and they were not returned to her.

Lincolnshire Police said one dog was recovered after it was found on the side of a motorway near Leeds, after apparently having been thrown from a moving vehicle.

Barry Darling, who has 34 previous convictions for 67 offences, Petrie-Harrison and Jackson were each sentenced to 16 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

Bridget Darling was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months after it was accepted she played a lesser role.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Easteal said: "Let's be clear, this was as deplorable and awful as it was amateurish and doomed to fail.

"The speed it was detected was almost embarrassingly fast."

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