Photo: Jack Hunter

Merseyside Police can confirm that two men have been sentenced to a total of 25 years at Liverpool Crown Court, Monday, 16 March, in connection with a series of burglaries, aggravated burglaries targeting the Chinese community and cash in transit robberies which took place between November 2013 and February 2014.

Jack Hunter, 20 years, formerly of Hillsmore Way, Anfield, was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary at a previous hearing and has been sentenced today to a total of 16 years in prison.

Jamie Ellis, 24 years, of Jeffereys Crescent, Roby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cash in transit robberies at an earlier hearing and has been sentenced today to a total of 7 years 9 months in prison.  He also received 12 months each for three counts of handling stolen goods (to run concurrently) and a further 15 months in prison in relation to the breach of a previous suspended sentence.

Craig Lister, Daniel Challinor and Marlene Currie pleaded guilty to various offences at a previous hearing in relation to the conspiracies and will be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Keaton, Matrix Serious Organised Crime Major Investigation Wing, said: “Jack Hunter and Jamie Ellis were part of a prolific and dangerous organised crime group which carried out a string of burglaries, car thefts and cash in transit robberies.

“During November through to the early part of February, Hunter was part of a group responsible for a string of domestic burglaries both in Merseyside and Worcestershire, in which high value cars were often targeted.

“Hunter’s criminality culminated in two aggravated burglaries in south Liverpool in which members of the Chinese community were targeted.  The offenders armed themselves with a range of weapons, including knives, machetes and an axe, and didn’t hesitate to subject their victims to truly horrific ordeals in which they were intimidated and threatened though thankfully not physically injured.

During one of these incidents, the gang threatened the occupants of a house, then forced a pregnant woman, her baby daughter and two elderly female relatives into the living room where they stole jewellery.”

Detective Chief Inspector Keaton continued: “An investigation was quickly launched by a team of Matrix Serious Organised Crime detectives.  This involved thousands of hours of painstaking police work, including covert operations, forensic investigations and extensive analysis of mobile phone records.

“Officers also worked closely with members of the Chinese community across Merseyside to offer them reassurance and provide crime prevention advice.

“Today’s sentences represent the culmination of what proved to be a complex and detailed police operation.

“Some of the pictures we have released today show Jack Hunter appearing to glorify the use of weapons and showing delight in the results of the group’s criminality.  I’m convinced Merseyside is now a far safer place as these two offenders will be off the streets for a significant period of time.

“This case provides tangible proof of our absolute determination to crackdown on serious and organised crime on Merseyside.  We will be relentless in our efforts to bring those involved to justice and we will also work with other forces across the country to ensure that borders are never a barrier to achieving that aim.  The message is clear to offenders, wherever you commit serious crime, you will be caught.”

Head of Community Engagement, Chief Superintendent Rowley Moore, said: “The offences against Chinese nationals living in Merseyside brought fear to what is a tight knit and very proud group of people.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to their bravery and recognise the contribution the victims have made in providing evidence and securing these court results.

“We provided support throughout the justice process and also worked closely with senior members of those communities and a range of partners to provide reassurance and advice.  As a result, even stronger links have been forged and we have excellent relationships with the Chinese community across Merseyside.

“I hope this case means that any other members of the community will feel comfortable in coming forward if they are victims of crime, safe in the knowledge that we will listen to their concerns and investigate any reports thoroughly.”

We would urge people with any information about serious and organised crime, whatever the nature, to call MSOC officers on 0800 230 0600.  Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


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