As families ate together in restaurants, tracking devices were attached to their cars

As families sat together to eat in restaurants, a gang of noisy burglars quietly attached trackers to their cars.

In a “sophisticated, carefully planned and well-executed conspiracy” jewelery and cash worth thousands of pounds were stolen from homes across the suburbs of Liverpool. In September and October last year, six homes were targeted.

The brains behind the cruel plot would linger outside the restaurants on Merseyside and pick out their next victim. Today (July 5), a court heard how they would deliberately target members of the Asian community, who were “known for keeping large amounts of cash and high-value jewelery in their homes”.

When police confronted Stuart Devany, he denied involvement, saying “I don’t do burglaries”. As he was sentenced, the 59-year-old aid launched into a 16-word tirade from the dock at Liverpool Crown Court.

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Devany, of Chorley’s Lane in Widnes, and his co-conspirators reportedly identified their victims by attaching trackers to the vehicles of restaurant, takeaway and shop owners – thereby discovering their home addresses.

Once inside the premises, Prosecutor Philip Astbury detailed how the gang members “disregarded” high-value items such as iPads, iPhones and televisions, focusing instead on their intended occurrence, after ” to find an established outlet” for their jewelery which had already been stolen in Doncaster. area.

The first series of burglaries began on 19 September 2023, starting with a house on Muirfield Road in Huyton, Merseyside. The thieves entered the property at around 2.30pm through the back patio door, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The homeowner returned shortly afterwards to find that £3,750 in cash and £6,000 worth of gold jewelery had been stolen.

The criminals then moved on to a residence in the Wavertree area of ​​Queens Drive, arriving just before 2.45pm. Three men dressed in dark clothing with their faces hidden were caught on CCTV climbing over a side wall and breaking in through the kitchen window.

The resident couple and their two children returned home at around 11pm to find mud footprints all over their home and up to £5,900 in cash missing, including hundreds of pounds of their son’s birthday money young.

To complete their day of crime, the culprits targeted a house on Greenhill Road in Allerton at around 4pm. They smashed a patio window to gain entry and made off with £5,300 in cash hidden in the bedrooms, as well as £25,000 worth of gold jewellery.

On 5 October, three more raids took place. At around 8.30pm, four men were seen entering the back garden of a house on Isleham Close in Allerton. The residents were out with their family when neighbors alerted them to the burglar alarm going off. After returning home, they discovered that a window at the rear of the property had been forced open.

The intruders left coffee scattered around the kitchen and took £300 in cash. However, the home owners did not keep expensive jewelery or large sums of money in the property, which meant that the burglars had relatively little traction this time.

Unsuspecting, the crooks moved to a property on Lyndhurst Avenue in Mossley Hill. The resident had gone to bed half an hour before but heard a knock on her bedroom window.

Then she discovered a masked man in dark clothing standing at the top of a ladder outside her window.

Finally, the burglars tried to break into a house on Redwing Way in Halewood, where a 16-year-old boy was home alone with his younger sister. The teenager heard noises in his back garden and saw two figures dressed in black.

Ultimately they left without taking anything after seeing the young boy inside.

An “intense investigation” saw officers sift through hours of CCTV footage, which showed a Vauxhall Vivaro van used to transport the culprits between crime scenes. It later emerged that this vehicle had been stolen during a burglary earlier on August 2nd and was being driven with false plates.

The van was parked on Guest Street in Widnes after the first burglary, and Devany was seen on camera at a petrol station on Warrington Road in Cheshire town, filling up the van and buying a can of pop just before the second wave. crimes. The getaway vehicle was later found in the Rochdale area at around 10.30pm the same day – which Mr Astbury suggested “probably after the two close escapes” meant the burglars “needed to put some distance between themselves and the van”.

Around the same time, the defendant was seen on CCTV at a nearby Tesco Express store.

Devany’s DNA was found on the steering wheel and plant, and on an empty Red Bull string inside the van. Devany was arrested at his home on February 29 this year.

During the questioning, the suspect insisted to the detectives “I don’t do burglary” but then he alleged that he was “used as a slave” and pointed the finger at a pedestrian, claiming that he once cleaned a van for him one a day. return for methadone. Later he revealed more about the criminal activities, explaining that the gang worked with five or six members and “targeted members of the Pakistani and Chinese communities”, using tracking devices placed on their cars and them outside their affairs.

Devany also detailed how the group preferred walkie-talkies to mobile phones to communicate and how they “refused” jewelery to be stolen through links in South Yorkshire. Confronted with CCTV evidence, he admitted being at the petrol station and in Rochdale with the van, and admitted burning his own clothes and those of his partners.

His extensive criminal history includes 51 previous convictions for 119 offenses since 1985, with a large number of burglaries. In his defence, Olivia Beesley addressed the court, saying: “Mr Devany had a difficult background.”

She recounted the tragic events of his past, saying: “When he was just 17 years old, he suffered the loss of a child. His partner committed suicide by jumping off Runcorn Bridge.”

Beesley continued, emphasizing the impact of these events on Devany’s life: “He tells me, after that, his life went downhill. He was offered heroin and fell into addiction very quickly.”

She concluded by linking his criminal behavior to his substance abuse issues: “Much of his convictions involve dishonesty and theft, which go hand in hand with a battle against addiction. There is a gap in his conviction.

“He tells me he went into the roofing trade and enjoyed this work, but fell back into crime. He tells me he is getting too old for this lifestyle now. His time is up put to good use by him learning to read and write for the first time, and he is proud of that.

“He tells me he is enjoying his work in custody. This is the first time he has enjoyed his work since his work in landscape gardening.”

“He hopes your honor will see some remorse. He realizes the suffering he has caused.”

Devany admitted conspiracy to commit burglary. Dressed in a blue Nike t-shirt, he was sentenced to six years and five months in prison. In his sentencing remarks, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said: “You were a key member of a highly organized gang, by any view, which carried out a series of domestic burglaries in a professional and clinical manner. The offenses were well planned. .”

“In the past, you targeted members of the Asian community primarily with the belief that they would have large amounts of high-value jewelry as well as cash. You kept tabs on local restaurants and shops and placed tracking devices on their vehicles.”

“Once you were inside the property, you did a lot of damage – if you didn’t bail them out, in some cases. I’m not going to lecture you about the impact a burglary can have on homeowners.”

“I have no doubt that there have been other judges in the past, and it obviously made little difference. In some cases, occupants were present and disturbed by the presence of the gang.”

“That included a 16-year-old facing the image of invaders dressed entirely in black. How terrifyingly terrifying.”

When he was led to the cells, Devany said: “How do the travelers get away with it? That’s your job, not mine. For F***ing sakes.”

After the sentencing, Merseyside Police Detective Inspector Kevin O’Rourke noted: “Devany was an extremely noisy burglar who specifically targeted the homes of individuals and families who were suspected of having high value jewellery. We quickly identified a van used in the six burglaries and, following CCTV inquiries and DNA testing, we were able to find the evidence that has now put Devany behind bars.”

“These burglaries have had a huge impact on the victims, and it is good to see that Devany has now had plenty of time to reflect on his actions in prison. Burglary is a very personal crime, and pieces of jewelery were stolen which They have a huge sentimental value. It can be distressing for the victims.”

“Members of the Asian community are rarely targeted in this way, but some burglars will take advantage of cultural traditions and aim to steal family gold. If you keep valuable jewelery or large sums of money in your home, with your please. take steps to secure it properly.”

“Just trying to hide jewelery or cash, no matter how well you think you hid it, is not enough. A determined burglar will search high and low for your prized possessions.”

“Ideally, you should remove all gold and jewelery from your home completely and secure these items in a safe deposit box. If you prefer to keep gold and jewelery at home, buy a quality safe that fits with insurance rating standards and is firmly fixed on the wall or floor.”

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