Three men from Chile who travelled to the UK with the intention of committing crime have been jailed.
Victor Munoz, 31, Sergio Sepulveda Castro, 27, and Hector Paredes-Munoz, 29, all appeared at Chester Crown Court on today (Friday 16 June) to be sentenced.
All three men had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. Munoz also admitted one count of dangerous driving.
Munoz, was jailed for three years, Castro was jailed for 48 months, and Paredes-Munoz was jailed for three years.
The gang are believed to have arrived in the UK towards the end of 2022/ early 2023, after travelled over from Europe.
After arriving in the country, they set up a base in the south of England with the with the sole aim of committing burglaries at high-value homes across the UK.
Their downfall came after the trio decided to target two homes in Cheshire.
The first incident occurred on at around 8.20pm on Friday 31 March when the men broke into an address on Broad Walk, Wilmslow, by smashing the patio doors. The trio conducted a search of the property and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, but made off with just £60.
At around 7.40pm the next day, Saturday 1 April, the trio targeted an address on West Bank in Alderley Edge. However, the gang were disturbed after entering the address via an insecure door and made off from the scene empty handed.
The incident was immediately reported to police and officers were deployed to the scene.
Following local enquiries, officers spoke to staff at Cheshire East Council who found CCTV footage of the offenders getting into a car nearby. Enquiries revealed that the vehicle was a hire car from Bracknell, Berkshire, so the car was added to the national police database to alert forces across the UK.
At around 1pm the next day, Sunday 2 April, the vehicle was sighted by officers from Thames Valley Police travelling on the M40. Officers attempted to stop the car, however, the driver made off and travelled at speeds of up to 120mph, as they attempted to flee officers.
The vehicle eventually came to a stop after the driver slammed on the brakes in the fast lane of the M40. The five occupants then fled the car on foot, running across the opposite carriageway and into the path of oncoming vehicles.
Following a search of the area, Munoz, Castro and Paredes-Munoz were all arrested and transferred back to Cheshire where there were charged in connection with the burglaries.
During a subsequent search of the car officers discovered balaclavas, tools and jewellery. Footwear was also found in the car which linked the men to the burglary on Broad Walk.
Following the sentencing Police Constable Kieran Marsh, the officer in charge of the case, said: "Munoz, Castro and Paredes-Munoz were all members of an organised crime gang who came to the UK with the sole purpose of committing crime.
"Their crimes were carefully planned, specifically targeting high-value addresses with the aim of stealing as many valuable items as possible before fleeing the area, leaving the country and evading justice.
"While in these two cases the gang only managed a nominal amount if money, the impact of their crime spree should not be underestimated. To know that somebody has targeted your home – a place you should feel safe in, is sickening. The thought of your home being broken into, your property being rifled through and personal possessions being stolen can be traumatic.
"Thankfully, in this case, thanks to the diligence of staff at the Cheshire East CCTV unit and the work by the team of dedicated officers here at Eastern CID, the trio were swiftly located and arrested and all three men are now behind bars facing the consequences of their actions.
"I hope that this outcome provides some comfort and reassurance to the victims following their ordeal."
Detective Sergeant Stephen Joyce, of Macclesfield CID, added: "This case demonstrates the value of responding to all reports of burglary. By attending the scene, we we're swiftly able to identify the vehicle that the offenders were travelling in, which ultimately led to their arrest.
"Here in Cheshire we have one of the highest charge rates for burglary in England and Wales and our officers are committed to doing all they can to identify offenders and stop them in their tracks.
"I hope that this case acts as a warning to anyone who is planning on travelling to Cheshire to commit crimes. Our message to them is clear, don't make a wasted journey."
Photo: Munoz, Paredes-Munoz and Castro.