The weak justifications of the burglars after their DNA was discovered on a bottle at the crime scene.
Two burglars who claimed to have acted as lookouts while a band of masked men looted an archery club were labeled “blights” on society and sentenced to prison.
Michael Wigley, 33, of Huyton’s Coral Avenue, and Jamie Bennett, 31, of Runcorn’s The Knoll, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary each.
The charges stem from a break-in and ransacking of Kyujutsu Archery Club on Castlefields Avenue East on April 23, 2019, just after midnight.
At Chester Crown Court today, prosecutor Philip Clemo described how CCTV saw eight hooded and masked individuals in black approaching the facility before five attackers broke in and three remained outside.
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One of the people who entered was seen with a crowbar, another with a sledgehammer, and yet another with a can of gasoline.
Intruders took bows, arrows, and refreshments, as well as pulling down a surveillance camera and stealing the hard drive.
They broke their way into lockers, as well.
Although the cause of the fire is unknown, it quickly became ablaze, requiring emergency services to respond. The property’s owner, Chris Ord, was awoken and summoned to the scene, where he was “heartbroken by what he saw – a fire had taken serious hold of the building.”
Mr. Ord, who had refurbished the structure and grown the club to a membership of 132 aspiring archers over the course of three years, accompanied police as they investigated the surrounding area by torchlight.
Among the items discovered were some beverages bottles that he recognized as having been purchased by Mr Ord a few days prior at Costco.
The batch numbers on the bottles were eventually traced to the store, and DNA tests on the bottles yielded a “complete hit” for Bennett and a “likely hit” for Wigley, with a small probability of belonging to someone else.
The missing CCTV hard drive was also located during the search.
The materials were collected, Mr Clemo said, “thanks to the vigilance of officers” from Cheshire Police.
Bennett and Wigley denied any participation when they were arrested, with Bennett attempting to explain the DNA match on the drink by claiming he “had sex with a girl.”
“The summary comes to an end.”