Puppy raiders 'ransacked dead son's room'

Michael Dear, Miles Cash and Jacob Smith Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Michael Dear, Miles Cash and Jacob Smith were jailed at Cambridge Crown Court on Wednesday

Three burglars who ransacked the room of a family's dead son and stole their 10-week-old puppy have been jailed.

Miles Cash, 22, Michael Dear, 22, and Jacob Smith, 19, all from Doncaster, also stole cars worth up to £37,000 across Cambridgeshire in June and July 2017.

They took a Staffordshire bull terrier called Digby from one property, later found in a quarry.

At Cambridge Crown Court, the trio all admitted conspiracy to burgle.

Prosecutor Charles Falk told the court the trio admitted offences relating to the burglary of seven homes and three commercial properties, and five vehicles from those break-ins over the course of 11 days.

During their final burglary before their arrest on 6 July near Wisbech, they "completely ransacked the bedrooms including turning a bag out all over the room of their deceased son's sentimental belongings".

They also stole Digby, but after police appealed on social media the force received an anonymous call that the dog would be "waiting in a quarry", where it was found.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption The gang used a stolen Audi TT in a number of their burglaries

Mr Falk said during the first burglary in Wisbech St Mary at 08:50 BST on 26 June, the occupant, who worked nights, was woken by a burglar who walked into his room.

"Both of them were shocked to see each other," he said adding that "by the time the occupant had got some clothes on, the burglars had already accelerated off in his car", which has not been recovered.

The gang researched similar cars on Ebay in order to clone number plates in their workshop, using stolen cars in the next burglaries, Mr Falk said.

Other offences included twice breaking into the same Peterborough petrol station, and on one occasion "they gratuitously sprayed a fire extinguisher over the goods in the shop", he added.

Cash, of The Homestead, was jailed for eight years, while Dear and Smith, both of Armthorpe Road, were sentenced to six years and five years and eight months respectively.

At the time Smith had been on bail for the theft of two cars and another burglary, which he was also sentenced for on Wednesday.

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