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Crime gang targeted Chester homes for Asian gold

The thieves, who disguised themselves in Beatles wigs and charity clothing, snatched cars and jewellery worth more than £100,000

A gang of burglars who deliberately targeted Asian families for their gold has been jailed for a total of 43 years and nine months.

At Mold Crown Court Judge Niclas Parry said the whole conspiracy involved 37 burglaries in Chester, on the Wirral, the Welsh borders and in the Midlands, stealing property valued at more than £100,000.

The gang, who used stolen cars and wore charity shop clothing including Beatles wigs, to disguise themselves caused “great concern to the Asian community” and had also targeted the elderly and vulnerable, he said.

Crime scenes were cleaned by gang members who wore latex gloves and poured bleach in a bid to avoid detection.

Asian families’ homes were deliberately targeted, the judge said, because offenders rightly believed high value gold would be in their homes.

Among the victims were a couple who had suffered the loss of two daughters and the burglary at their home had set back their recovery.

John Purcell, 24, of King’s Road, Connah’s Quay, admitted involvement is 13 burglaries where nine Asian families were targeted and was jailed for five years.

Michael McGuire, 47, of Homestead Lane, Wrexham, was involved in 22 burglaries. He had a previous conviction for conspiring to burgle and he was jailed for six and a half years.

Kevin Joseph McGuire, 34, of Blackburn, who was involved towards the end of the conspiracy, also received six and a half years.

John James Purcell, 29, of Ruthin Road Caravan Site, Wrexham, involved in nine burglaries, received six years.

Stephen Berry, 18 but 17 at the time, who comes from Wrexham, received two years youth detention. He was involved in 16 burglaries.

Francis McGuire, 32, of Bryn Golau, South Sea, Wrexham, was involved in seven burglaries over two days, got five and a half years.

Miles Berry, 24, of King’s Road, Connah’s Quay, received five years.

Miles Delaney, 32, of the Ruthin Road caravan site, Wrexham, was cleared of the conspiracy but admitted two burglaries. He had previously been jailed for seven years for a burglary conspiracy and received five years.

Mark Bowen, 46, of Western Avenue, Whittington, Oswestry, admitted handling stolen goods and money laundering.

Described as a legitimate businessman, who was said to have bought a £55,000 yellow Lamborghini in a mid life crisis, received 27 months.

The court heard he had not handled all the gang’s proceeds but it was estimated it may have been in the region of £20,000 worth. He would travel to Birmingham to sell gold in his luxury vehicle.

The judge said he took into account that no violence or weapons had been used by the gang and there were no injuries.

He said commended the police investigation codenamed Operation Analogue, adjourned applications for criminal behaviour orders and set Proceeds of Crime timetables to see if some of the monies can be recovered.

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