Men jailed following Tetney church burglary

Lincoln Crown Court. Library image.
Lincoln Crown Court. Library image.

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 stole clothing from a washing line which he put on in a bid to disguise his identity.

He then called a taxi to take him to his home in Grimsby but within hours police turned up and he was detained.

The court was told that Bunce had served seven previous prison sentences for burglary and was released on licence from his last sentence hours before he was back burgling again.

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

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 on Wednesday (December 23), 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.”

Mr Pearson, for Kelly, said his client was the youngest of the three involved in the burglaries and had fewer previous convictions than either of his co-accused.