A Manchester gang who targeted affluent homes across east Cheshire and escaped with a combined haul of more than £120,000 have been sentenced.
Christopher Kelly, 34, from The Winnows, Denton; Peter James Edge, 28, from Denfield Court, Cemetery Road, Denton; Gareth Winfield, 34, from Farley Avenue, Debdale, and Kelly Edge, 23, from Hyde Road, Gorton pleaded guilty to a number of charges of conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit burglary at an earlier hearing.
On 6 June 2013 the three men were sentenced to 10 years, five years and four and a half years respectively. Edge was sentenced at Chester Crown court on 17 June 2013. She was given a two year prison sentence suspended for two years and a six months residence order.
Between 11 July 2011 and 20 December 2011 the gang raided 10 homes in the east Cheshire area stealing in excess of £120,000 worth of property including Rolex watches and cash.
Members of the criminal group had been travelling from Manchester,deliberately seeking out homes in semi-rural affluent areas of Knutsford, Macclesfield Holmes Chapel and Alderley Edge.
As a pattern emerged which signalled the burglaries could be the work of one gang, Cheshire Police′s Force Crime Operations Unit launched Operation Kingfisher.
The investigation team pieced together the circumstances of the conspiracy and linked a number of crimes to the group by the meticulous examination of multiple strands of evidence including the group′s access to and use of vehicles, as well as witness and forensic evidence.
In one incident the gang used violence. This was at the Vernon Arms in Poynton on 4 September 2011. Three men forced their way into the premises while it was closing and two women who worked there were threatened. One of the women was punched on two separate occasions during their ordeal, receiving minor injuries. They escaped with cash. This was without doubt an extremely traumatic experience for both staff members.
Christopher Kelly admitted the robbery at the Vernon Arms in September 2011 and his role in a number of the house burglaries, Kelly Edge admitted her role in one burglary, Peter Edge admitted his role in five burglaries and Gareth Winfield admitted his role in a further five burglaries.
Detective Inspector Sarah Pengelly of Cheshire Police′s Force Crime Operations Unit said: "These defendants showed a blatant disregard for the people they targeted and in one case they were prepared to use violence to get what they wanted.
"We recognise the profound and long term effect of such crimes, so it is particularly pleasing to see that we have played our part in putting these criminals behind bars.
"I hope that this investigation and these sentences reassure Cheshire communities that we take these incidents very seriously and strive to bring offenders to justice."