Man jailed for high-value burglaries in Liverpool

A man from Cheshire has been jailed for six years and five months following multiple high-value burglary offences in Merseyside in 2023.

Stuart Devany, 59, of Widnes, pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary and was sentenced on Thursday, 4 July, at Liverpool Crown Court.

It was estimated that around £42,000 worth of jewellery and cash were taken during the burglaries after the homes of Asian families were targeted in Huyton, Wavertree, Mossley Hill, and Allerton in September and October last year.

Officers from Merseyside Police’s burglary team, Operation Castle, were able to identify a stolen Vauxhall Vivaro van, which was used in all the burglaries, and CCTV inquiries showed Devany as the driver.

The van was later recovered in Manchester and inside the vehicle was an empty can of Red Bull. Following a forensic examination of the can, there was a DNA match to Devany and he was subsequently arrested and charged with the offences.

Detective Inspector Kevin O’Rourke said, “Devany was a particularly callous burglar who specifically targeted the homes of individuals and families who he suspected had high-value jewellery.

“We quickly identified a van used in all 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 had a huge impact on the victims and it’s pleasing to see that Devany now has plenty of time to reflect on his actions in prison.”

Merseyside Police is advising people storing high-value jewellery and other expensive gold items in their home to ensure it is stored securely or better still, to keep it in a safe deposit box.

It’s particularly important that the advice reaches members of the Asian community who may follow the tradition of giving gold jewellery as a gift, which is then passed down family generations.

DI O’Rourke added, “Burglary is a very personal crime and having pieces of jewellery stolen that are of enormous sentimental value can be distressing for the victims. It is rare for members of the Asian community to be targeted in this way, but some burglars will take advantage of cultural traditions and aim to steal a family’s gold.

“If you do keep valuable jewellery or large amounts of cash in your home, please take steps to secure it properly. Simply attempting to hide jewellery or cash is not enough, no matter how well you think you have hidden it. A determined burglar will search high and low for your treasured possessions.

“Ideally, you should remove all gold and jewellery from your house altogether and secure these items in a safe deposit box. If you would prefer to keep gold and jewellery at home, buy a high-quality safe, which complies with insurance rating standards and is fixed securely to a wall or the floor.”

To help protect your valuables and keep your home secure, follow this advice:

  • Don’t leave jewellery or cash on display in your home or even hidden – instead use a bank safe deposit box to store high-value items, or buy a good quality safe and bolt it to a brick wall
  • Photograph each item, keep a written description and make sure it is included in your insurance policy
  • Use special property marking technology from www.securedbydesign.com
  • Be discreet if wearing jewellery or carrying large amounts of cash in public
  • Make sure your social media account security settings are ‘high’ or ‘private’
  • Keep your windows and doors locked and use a burglar alarm and security lighting
  • Be vigilant of unexpected callers or cold-callers offering doorstep services – write down who they said they were, details of any vehicle they were in, and save and back up any CCTV footage of them
  • Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme
  • Report any suspicious activity, such as being watched or followed, to the police via the website, on social media or by calling 101

More information can be found at: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-home-crime/keep-burglars-out-property/

Detective Inspector Kevin O’Rourke added, “We are committed to pursuing the offenders of these crimes and the support of our communities is vital in helping us put burglars behind bars. We regularly act on information from the public, so please come forward if you know anything about suspected burglary and the sale of stolen goods where you are.”

If you have any information about anyone acting suspiciously in the vicinity of homes or businesses, or being in possession of suspected stolen goods, please contact the Merseyside Police social media desk on X @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’.

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or pass information via their secure online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously

Image: Stuart Devany/Merseyside Police

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