A carer who used her disabled mum’s mobility car to drive a notorious burglar to raid homes on Christmas Eve, has been jailed for three and a half years.
Rosemary Pollard, was one of three drivers who was recruited by prolific burglar Darryl Kennedy during his £250,000 crime spree, which left villagers in Tarvin, Kelsall, Vicars Cross, Grappenhall, Northwich, Frodsham and Poynton, living in fear.
The 58-year-old, was paid to drive the professional criminal, self-titled the ‘Sydney Cat Burglar’, to homes across Cheshire throughout December last year - targeting 14 homes in five villages on Christmas Eve alone.
And Pollard, who was paid £100 a time to drive the crook, used a specially adapted Seat Leon leased to her by the government’s Mobility to Scheme - which she was supposed to use to drive her wheelchair-bound mum around.
Last month Kennedy, of Salford in Greater Manchester, was jailed for 10 years for the burglary spree which saw him target around 140 homes between April and December 2013.
Villagers were left living in fear as the professional criminal targeted multiple homes in the same street, breaking-into homes in villages close to the A556 while residents were at work, out shopping or on holiday.
Today (Friday, September 5) Pollard, of of Cheetham Hill, was jailed for three-and-half years for driving the notorious criminal to 46 of the burglaries across Cheshire villages in December 2013.
The Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards slated the grandmother-of-one for her “disgraceful” role driving the burglar from Manchester into Cheshire to commit the crimes, during a hearing at Chester Crown Court today.
Judge Edwards described Pollard as having been “recruited as a volunteer” to transport the burglar to the crime scenes, after Kennedy fell out with his two other drivers, Winston Bell and Ajaz Ahmed.
The grandmother even drove the burglar, to 14 homes in Kelsall, Ashton, Mickle Trafford, Davenham and Vicars Cross on Christmas Eve, where Kennedy forced PVC windows and back doors to steal jewellery, laptops, tablets, expensive watches and cash.
And when she was eventually arrested at her home on January 22, Pollard was wearing a Pandora bracelet stolen from one of the houses on Christmas Eve.
The court heard how during the week before Christmas, Pollard drove Kennedy to burgle the house of a family who were out visiting a dying relative in hospital.
Victim Philip Miles, who lives in a village near Chester and appeared in court during a previous hearing, said the whole village became suspicious and on guard during the spree between April and December 2013.
“It left us feeling vulnerable and panicked about leaving the house,” said Mr Miles, who said the items taken were personal to his wife and irreplaceable.
“During the festive period I would not leave the house or the dog behind for fear of being a repeat victim.”
But Pollard failed to hear Mr Miles’s emotional account during her co-defendants’ sentencing hearing on August 15 after failing to attend court to after she was infested with lice.
Pollard, who was previously jailed for two years for smuggling Class A and B drugs into a prison where her son was incarcerated, said she had turned a “blind eye” to Kennedy’s criminal activities.
“Kennedy didn’t actually tell her what he was intending. She accepts that she guessed and she turned a blind eye to it,” said David Abbott, defending.
“She tells me she is disgusted with herself for having got involved in these matters.”
Pollard who suffers from a range of health issues and has had a heart bypass, is a full time carer for her elderly mother, who is in a wheelchair, and she has suffered from depression since her son died, the court heard.
But sentencing her to three-and-a-half-years behind bars, less 104 days on curfew, Judge Edwards slated Pollard, saying: “You knew precisely what you were doing, you knew what you were being paid for.
“You even used your mother’s mobility vehicle to ferry Kennedy on burglary expeditions.”
Last month driver Winston Bell, 56, of Failsworth, Manchester, was sentenced to four years behind bars, while former charity champion and landlord Ajaz Ahmed, 46, of Rochdale was sentenced to three years – after claiming he was pressured into driving for the prolific burglar.
All three drivers and Kennedy pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to burgle during a hearing in April last year. Kennedy and driver Bell were caught on New Year’s Eve in Wilmslow with a car full of stolen items – taken from two burglaries that night.