Two burglars who used stolen motorcycles to commit a series of burglaries across three Yorkshire counties have been jailed for seven and a half years thanks to a joint North Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Police investigation.
Connor Walker, 21, from South Elmsall and Darryl Lynch, 18, Knottingley carried out the burglaries between 5 November and 8 November 8 2018.
During this time, they were responsible for several thousand pounds worth of damage to property and vehicles, stole cash, tools and significant amounts of jewellery from the victims some of which irreplaceable and of sentimental value to their targeted elderly owners.
They were caught after a homeowner returned to his house in Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire on Thursday 8 November 2018 to find two males wearing crash helmets running from his garage.
As they tried to get away, they left behind a scooter, which had been stolen two days earlier in Pontefract, West Yorkshire to make their escape across fields.
Local units from North Yorkshire Police carried out a search of the local area with one of the force’s police dog teams tracking their escape route and recovering clothing, gloves, and crash helmets.
Lynch was located shortly after, hiding under a tarpaulin in a Wendy house in the back garden of a house in the village and arrested.
A mobile phone, which was seized from Lynch during his arrest, contained recent text messages from a person saved as ‘Connor’ indicating that he was also hiding in the area. Further investigations with colleagues at West Yorkshire Police, enabled officers to identify and arrest Lynch’s co-defendant Connor Walker.
Investigators were later able to link DNA found in both helmets and one of the gloves recovered from the Sherburn-in-Elmet burglary to Lynch. Walker’s DNA was also found in one of the helmets.
Tools recovered from under the seat of the stolen scooter in Sherbun-in-Elmet had been stolen earlier the same day during a burglary in the nearby village of Barkston Ash, and an attempt to burgle a second house in the same village, was also carried out by two males wearing crash helmets.
CCTV footage captured the pair committing four burglaries in West Yorkshire between 5 and 7 November using handheld tools to inflict damage to the properties and CCTV systems in an attempt to avoid detection (scroll down to view the footage)..
Further evidence came from an eagle-eyed North Yorkshire Police volunteer who captured dash-cam footage of a scooter driver passing a crash helmet through the driver’s window of a silver Mitsubishi Shogun on Monday 5 November 2018 (pictured). The Mitsubishi had been stolen from a farm a few minutes earlier in a burglary in Pollington, East Yorkshire.
Both Lynch and Walker replied ‘no comment’ throughout police interviews but were later charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with a total of eight offences – four in West Yorkshire, three in North Yorkshire and one in Humberside.
After pleading guilty, Walker, 21, was sentenced to four and a half years at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday 28 January and 18 year-old Lynch was ordered to serve a period of three years for conspiracy to commit burglary.*.
Commenting on the sentence, North Yorkshire Police’s Investigating officer Dave Pegg, one of the Burglary Coordinators for the force said:
‘The impact of being burgled and knowing someone has been in your home can have a devastating and long-lasting impact – not only on the victims and their families but the wider community as a whole.
‘This was a fantastic collective effort across both forces as we relentlessly pursued the investigation and used all our powers to prove that Walker and Lynch were linked to the series of burglaries across the three counties.
‘The work of both the North Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Police Investigators, the forensic officers, intelligence officers, the Dog Section, neighbourhood and response officers, and police volunteers all played a valuable role in catching both Walker and Lynch and securing the evidence to prosecute them.
‘Hopefully, the significant sentence imposed today will bring some satisfaction to the victims and send a clear message to criminals who commit crime across our counties that police forces can, and will, work together to bring offenders to justice.’
Police Constable Dean Hammond lead investigator for the series of offences and of Wakefield District CID said:
‘The offenders Walker and Lynch both planned and played a pivotal part in a very significant series of burglaries where victims homes, some of which occupied by elderly victims, were targeted and attacked to steal their personal property and often causing extensive damage to their properties in the process.
‘The offences committed by the pair were conducted during the hours of daylight further showing their disregard for the well-being or safety of their victims occupying their homes at the time.
‘The victims of this lengthily investigation suffered material losses of personal property, in some cases irreplaceable items of great sentimental value and also the debilitating and vulnerable experiences of having their homes and privacy invaded, often leaving lasting feelings of insecurity.
‘A thorough and comprehensive investigation into these offences utilising a number of Policing methods, the collation of evidence in varying forms and cross border liaison, clearly resulted in the linking of both males to the crimes for which they have been convicted.
‘We hope as combined forces involved in this lengthily investigation, that the sentences Walker and Lynch received today will serve as reassurance to their victims and the communities in which they reside and also send a message to others who believe that they can commit offences such as this in our respective force areas without having to face the consequences of their actions.’
*Lynch was also jailed for a further 3 years for an unrelated robbery which occurred on 25 July 2018 in Bell Lane, Ackworth and jailed for two months for an assault on a Police Officer which occurred 15 October 2019 on Strickland Road, Upton.Last modified: January 28, 2020