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Merseyside axe-wielding burglars jailed for £45k crime spree

Top (left to right) Gary Platt, Joseph Salla, Joshua Wilkinson, Bottom left: Kieran Platt, Lee Hodgin, Peter Mighall Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Top (left to right) Gary Platt, Joseph Salla, Joshua Wilkinson, Bottom left: Kieran Platt, Lee Hodgin, Peter Mighall have all be jailed

Six axe-wielding burglars who stole more than £45,000 during a crime spree targeting dozens of businesses across the UK have been jailed.

The men, from Merseyside, left a trail of destruction after using weapons to smash up safes and break down doors.

As well as the cash they stole, the damage they caused to some 30 businesses over three months was estimated at over £35,000, police said.

They were each handed lengthy prison sentences at Chester Crown Court.

The gang "had the audacity" to repeatedly target many of the same pubs, restaurants, bus depots, convenience stores, social clubs and dry cleaners, police said.

CCTV footage captured their wrecking spree at businesses in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield, Willaston, Wirral, Kendal, Morecambe, Northop, Wrexham, Oswestry and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Image copyright Cheshire Constabulary
Image caption CCTV showed two of the men using weapons to smash safes at one property

Det Sgt Graeme Carvell said: "All of the businesses targeted provide essential services to local communities, and the burglaries have had a profound effect on the owners and their staff."

The men, who also stole a car worth £13,000, were members of an organised crime gang who struck between August and November 2019 at businesses as well as homes and vehicles.

In an attempt to evade capture, they also stole number plates which were used on stolen vehicles.

They were eventually tracked down and arrested after using "a variety of techniques in a failed attempt to try to cover up their crimes," Det Sgt Carvell added.

The men each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary on 6 December.

  • Gary Platt, 43, from Noctorum, was sentenced to six years
  • Kieran Platt, 25, from Noctorum, was jailed for six years
  • Joseph Salla, 19, from Noctorum, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years
  • Joshua Wilkinson, 22, from Heswall, was jailed for four-and-a-half years
  • Lee Hodgin, 33, from Birkenhead, was sentenced to six years and nine months
  • Peter Mighall, 45, from Birkenhead, was jailed for three years and nine months

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