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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Mexican burglary gang visiting Premier League grounds target Carlisle family

The victims of six Mexican holidaymakers who embarked on a UK burglary spree after they ran out of cash included a family in Carlisle.

A court heard yesterday how the gang turned to crime as they neared the end of a tour of English Premier League football stadiums, during which some squandered all their cash on booze.

The homes they raided included a house in Newfield Drive, Kingstown, where they stole goods and caused damage costing around £14,700.

After the six culprits were jailed yesterday, the home’s owner, Helen Hughes, spoke of the impact of the burglary which happened in daylight while she and her two daughters, Rhianna, 13, and Megan, 15, were out.

“We were only out for just under two hours – from 2.20pm until 4.15pm,” said Helen.

“The burglars had been going up and down the street, knocking on doors to see if there was anybody in. When they found we weren’t in they obviously decided to give it a go.” The gang stole jewellery, cash and various other items that they could carry.

Helen said: “It was my youngest daughter who came home and found it.

“She’s only 13 and she spent the weekend not wanting to be at home. She still doesn’t want to be in the house on her own.

“It’s upsetting for the kids. They don’t feel safe , but it’s a safe area generally.”

Helen said the police had been “absolutely brilliant” and that most of the stolen goods were returned.

The gang were also linked to raids on homes in West Lancashire and Strathclyde over a six-day period.

Preston Crown Court heard that the Mexicans had initially come to the country on tourist visas last October as part of their dream to watch their footballing heroes, including Manchester United’s Mexican striker Javier Hernandez at Old Trafford.

Apart from one married couple, none of the offenders were known to each other before they met in a London nightclub.

Several of them spent too much on alcohol as their tour of British sporting arenas evolved into an organised crime operation.

They smashed open the front doors of properties and then ransacked bedrooms for jewellery, cash and electrical equipment while the owners were out between November 16 and 21 last year.

The gang was caught travelling south through Staffordshire after their getaway vehicle details were flagged up by a member of the public who witnessed one of the raids.

Their haul was recovered, as were papers with lists of addresses and a satellite navigation system which mapped out their travel route.

Police inquiries were ongoing but it was likely that unclaimed stolen goods had come from the Scottish addresses.

Juan Castillo Fernandez, 28, Cuauthemoc Fernandez Gomez, 30, and Manuel Garcia, 44, were all jailed for two years after admitting conspiracy to commit burglary.

Jose Vargas Gomez, 51, Juan Molina, 24, and Cristina Obregon, 22, were each imprisoned for 14 months for possessing criminal property.

All six, who were living at Springbank Road, Lewisham, London, will be automatically deported after serving their sentences.

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, said he would have urged their removal regardless.He told them: “I would have recommended deportation because in my view your continued presence in this country – whose hospitality you have abused – is contrary to the public interest.”

All were said to have no previous criminal history in their home country, including married couple Garcia and Obregon.

Judge Russell told the defendants: “You were all here on holiday from Mexico and chose to commit these serious crimes. They are serious because they involved entering people’s homes, searching them and stealing valuable items.“There was a significant degree of planning.”

PColeman@cngroup.co.uk

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