Gainsborough

Spaniel thieves avoid jail

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Four people were given suspended jail sentences after pleading guilty to offences relating to the theft of pedigree Kings Charles Spaniel dogs in Middle Rasen.

As previously reported, Barry and Bridget Darling pleaded guilty to a single charge of handling stolen goods between September 21 and 24 2015 at a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court.

The court was previously told that 15 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, including one which was pregnant, were stolen from dog breeding pens in a garden at Willow Cottage on Gainsborough Road in Middle Rasen.

The pair have now been sentenced, alongside Craig Jackson and Barbara Petrie-Harrison from the Basingstoke area, who previously admitted their involvement in connection with the commercial burglary.

Only one of the dogs has so far been recovered.

The offences

Two of the offenders admitted they broke into an outbuilding at a property on Gainsborough Road where the dogs were taken.

They climbed over a fence, and entered an outbuilding in the garden of the premises, before removing the dogs.

Officers connected a vehicle that was captured on CCTV in the area – a Black Astra – to Barry Darling. He was arrested, along with Bridget Darling on September 26 2015, in West Yorkshire.

The pair were bailed to allow for further enquiries to be conducted.

As the investigation continued, officers connected more people involved in the incident.

A warrant was conducted on Wroxham Avenue, Grimsby, and Barbara Petrie-Harrison was arrested, and later her partner Craig Jackson was also arrested.

Only one of the dogs has been recovered, which was found on the side of a motorway near Leeds in April 2017.

It is believed to have been thrown from a moving vehicle, but is now safe and well and has been returned to its original owner.

The sentences

Barry Darling, 51, of Priestley Square, Birstall, Batley, pleaded guilty to handling stolen property and was sentenced to 16-months suspended for 18-months.

Bridget Darling, 40, of Priestley Square, Birstall, Batley, pleaded guilty to handling stolen property and was sentenced to 12-months suspended for 18-months.

Craig Jackson, 42, of Dorset Crescent, Basingstoke, pleaded guilty to burglary other than dwelling, and was sentenced to 16-months suspended for 18-months.

Barbara Petrie-Harrison, 45, of Dorset Crescent, Basingstoke, pleaded guilty to burglary other than dwelling, and was sentenced to 16-months suspended for 18-months.

Lasting impact on victim

Officer In Charge Detective Constable Steve Hatton said: “This was a crime which has left a lasting impact on the victim, having only being re-united with one of their dogs. Not only did two of the offenders break into the victim’s property, they also took 15 of their dogs, all for their own financial gain.

“These offenders clearly only showed interest in themselves and their own illegal gains. This was an investigation which took time, using a variety of tactics and techniques working across different force areas. I was determined to find who was behind this offence and hope that the victim can gain some closure on the matter now that the case has been finalised at Court.

“This investigation shows Lincolnshire Police takes this type of crime extremely seriously and will always pursue those responsible.”

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