A GANG of prolific burglars who targeted homes in Skegness as they travelled like a ‘plague of locusts’ across the east of England have been jailed for more than 28 years.
Five Latvian men were sentenced for burglary offences at Norwich Crown Court last week after stealing cash and jewellery from dozens of homes in a four month crime spree across Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Judge Nicholas Coleman likened their pattern of criminal behaviour to that of a ‘plague of locusts’ during the hearing.
Sentencing two of the perpetrators, he said: “You are both from Latvia. Your conduct and that of your friends who have admitted their guilt has in my judgement cast a dark shadow over the reputation of the people of Latvia, who are good honest citizens who come to this country genuinely intending to better themselves.”
The gang were arrested after a series of burglaries in Norfolk, which prompted increased police patrols.
A lengthy investigation supported by the neighbouring constabularies followed the arrests and identified a link with crimes throughout all four of the counties due to the suspects using a particular method in each case.
Genadj Rakitsky, 20, and Mihails Sirokovs, 25, both of Milner Road, Wisbeach were sentenced to three and seven years imprisonment respectively after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle.
Oscar Beitans, 25, of Victoria Road, Wisbeach and Jurijs Kazacoks, 23, of Syralense, King’s Lynn, were found guilty by a jury following a two and a half week trial and sentenced to 10 and seven years respectively.
Artur Skrabo, 18, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of burglary and one of attempted burglary and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
DS Martyn Parker of Lincolnshire Police said: “The apprehension and conviction of this group of individuals, following a complicated and difficult investigation, has significantly reduced the crime levels within Lincolnshire.
“Lincolnshire Police will continue to target and pursue individuals who travel across our county to commit crime.
“I hope the level of sentencing in this case deters those individuals committing house burglaries as part of an organised gang to think again, consider the impact upon their victims and their own lives.
“This is a triumph for Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Police, who collaborated to bring these offenders to justice.”