Lincs: Trio are jailed after churches raid

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Three burglars who raided a Lincolnshire parish church during a crime spree have each been jailed at Lincoln Crown Court.

The trio carried out three burglaries in the Grimsby area before driving out to the village of Tetney.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, prosecuting, said they targeted St Peter and St Paul’s Church entering during the early hours via an insecure door.

Mr Cranmer-Brown said: “There was an untidy search. Cupboards and drawers were opened.

“They stole three guitars and three amplifiers.”

Local residents were alerted after the raiders activated security lights and police were called.

Two of the raiders, Jonathan Ellerington and Declan Kelly, were arrested in the village but the third man Sean Bunce ran off.

Bunce, 35, of Elsenham Road, Grimsby; and Ellerington, 35, of Harrington Street, Cleethorpes, each admitted four charges of burglary on the night of April 22 and 23, 2015.

Bunce, who also admitted a charge of theft, was jailed for three and a half years. Ellerington was jailed for two years.

Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, described Bunce as the leader of the group.

He told Bunce: “Burglary for you is becoming a way of life. You took the lead role.

“You had just been released on licence the day previous to these offences and because you wanted money you were out and about burgling.

“You were the instigator of these offences.”

Kelly, 21, of Elsenham Road, Grimsby, admitted three burglaries.

He also admitted charges of criminal damage and affray following two incidents in June at the home of his then partner in Grimsby.

Kelly was jailed for a total of 30 months and given a two year restraining order banning him from any contact with his former partner Gemma Hebdon.

David Lee, for Bunce, said his client accepted that the burglaries were his idea.

He added: “It is a sad story. It seems as if he is becoming completely institutionalised.”

Adam Pearson, for Ellerington, said he had not been in trouble for burglary since 2009.

He said: “He has the characteristic record of a man who is addicted to heroin and that is the case.”