A burglar who targeted the Chinese community in a string of incidents including two in St Helens is today behind bars.
Jack Hunter, 20, was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and was sentenced to 16 years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court.
The offenders armed themselves with a range of weapons, including knives, machetes and an axe, and didn’t hesitate to subject their victims to truly horrific ordeals in which they were intimidated and threatened though thankfully not physically injuredDCI Tom Keaton from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Major Investigation Wing
Hunter, from the Anfield area of Liverpool, burgled a house in Great Delph on November 29, 2013, stealing jewellery, electrical goods and a VW Golf.
He also broke into a house on Nottingham Close in Rainhill on January 7, 2014, in a burglary in which a VW Golf GTI was stolen.
Hunter was also convicted of a series of other offences in Huyton, Liverpool and Worcester where the Chinese community was targeted and items including expensive prestige cars, jewellery, electrical items and cash were stolen.
Some of the incidents involved gangs of men covering their faces and brandishing weapons including an axe, a meat cleaver and knives.
Merseyside Police described Hunter as part of an organised crime group which carried out burglaries, car thefts and cash-in-transit robberies.
Another member of the group, 24-year-old Jamie Ellis from Roby, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit cash-in-transit robberies as well as charges of handling stolen goods and the breach of a previous suspended sentence and given seven years nine months in jail.
A further three members of the group, Craig Lister, Daniel Challinor and Marlene Currie, have all pleaded guilty to a range of offences at a previous hearing and will be sentenced at a later date.
DCI Tom Keaton from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Major Investigation Wing said: “Jack Hunter and Jamie Ellis were part of a prolific and dangerous organised crime group which carried out a string of burglaries, car thefts and cash-in-transit robberies.
“During November through to the early part of February, Hunter was part of a group responsible for a string of domestic burglaries both in Merseyside and Worcestershire, in which high-value cars were often targeted.
“Hunter’s criminality culminated in a robbery and an aggravated burglary in south Liverpool in which members of the Chinese community were targeted.
“The offenders armed themselves with a range of weapons, including knives, machetes and an axe, and didn’t hesitate to subject their victims to truly horrific ordeals in which they were intimidated and threatened though thankfully not physically injured.
“During one of these incidents, the gang threatened the occupants of a house, then forced a pregnant woman, her baby daughter and two elderly female relatives into the living room where they stole jewellery.
“Some of the pictures we have released today show Hunter appearing to glorify the use of weapons and showing delight in the results of the group’s criminality. I’m convinced Merseyside is now a far safer place as these two offenders will be off the streets for a significant period of time.
“This case provides tangible proof of our absolute determination to crackdown on serious and organised crime on Merseyside. We will be relentless in our efforts to bring those involved to justice and we will also work with other forces across the country to ensure that borders are never a barrier to achieving that aim.
“The message is clear to offenders, wherever you commit serious crime, you will be caught.”