Four people have been sentenced for their part in a commercial burglary and dog theft.
The group were all handed suspended sentences at Lincoln Crown Court, following lengthy investigations which lead to the prosecution of two men and two women for their part in a burglary in Middle Rasen.
Two of the offenders admitted that they broke into an outbuilding at a property on Gainsborough Road. A total of 15 King Charles Spaniels were taken, including one which was pregnant.
The offenders climbed over a fence, and entered an outbuilding in the garden of the premises, before removing the dogs.
Officers connected a vehicle that was captured on CCTV in the area – a Black Astra – to Barry Darling. He was arrested, along with Bridget Darling in West Yorkshire. The pair were bailed to allow for further enquiries to be conducted.
As the investigation continued, officers connected more people involved in the incident. A warrant was conducted on Wroxham Avenue, Grimsby, and Barbara Petrie-Harrison was arrested, and later her partner Craig Jackson was also arrested.
Only one of the dogs has been recovered, found on the side of a motorway near Leeds. It is believed to have been thrown from a moving vehicle, but is now safe and well.
All four were charged and pleaded guilty to offences. Barry Darling (51) pleaded guilty to handling stolen property, sentenced to 16-months suspended for 18-months. Bridget Darling (40) pleaded guilty to handling stolen property, sentenced to 12-months suspended for 18-months. Craig Jackson (42) pleaded guilty to burglary other than dwelling, sentenced to 16-months suspended for 18-months. Barbara Petrie-Harrison (45) pleaded guilty to burglary other than dwelling, sentenced to 16-months suspended for 18-months.
OIC Detective Constable Steve Hatton said: “This was a crime which has left a lasting impact on the victim, having only being re-united with one of their dogs. Not only did two of the offenders break into the victim’s property, they also took 15 of their dogs, all for their own financial gain.
“These offenders clearly only showed interest in themselves and their own illegal gains. This was an investigation which took time, using a variety of tactics and techniques working across different force areas. I was determined to find who was behind this offence and hope that the victim can gain some closure on the matter now that the case has been finalised at Court.
“This investigation shows Lincolnshire Police takes this type of crime extremely seriously and will always pursue those responsible.”