‘Burnley Wood Bazaar’ burglars are jailed after undercover police sting

JAILED: Joshua Bonney (S)
JAILED: Joshua Bonney (S)

A PROLIFIC burglar’s home became known as the “Burnley Wood Bazaar” after he started selling stolen goods from his front room.

Eric Halson (25) and accomplice Joshua Bonney carried out night-time raids on homes in Burnley, Todmorden and Rossendale, looking for car keys to unlock vehicles to steal and sell on for knock-down prices. The pair ran into trouble though with the sale of high value cars to undercover police.

JAILED: Eric Halson (S)

JAILED: Eric Halson (S)

The pair targeted insecure homes picked primarily for the cars parked outside. While in the houses, the pair also helped themselves to items such as laptops and mobile phones.

Undercover police carried out the sting operation between October and December 2010. Officers infiltrated criminal networks, making themselves known to the defendants before getting in on the deal for the cars.

Halson was the broker, ringing police the morning after the thefts, showing the vehicles and taking the cash, often as little as £300. His home was known as the “Burnley Wood Bazaar”, with other stolen goods sold in his front room. Local youths also set up stalls selling their illegal hauls.

Bonney (18) got into a 70 mph police chase through Burnley Wood mid-morning. He crashed into another car and hurt a pedestrian who had to flee from his path. On his arrest, 27 cannabis plants were found being cultivated in his attic.

Halson, of Springfield Road, and Bonney, of Piccadilly Road, were each sentenced to three years and nine months after appearing before Burnley Crown Court.

Halson admitted three burglaries and five counts of vehicle theft. He also admitted handling stolen goods between September and December 2010. Bonney admitted six burglaries and five counts of vehicle theft. He also admitted dangerous driving and drug offences after officers discovered a cannabis factory at his home. Both men also admitted committing a further 30 burglaries between them which have been taken into consideration.

Operation Loreley ran between September 2010 and April 2011 and saw 56 people arrested on suspicion of burglary, handling stolen goods and drug offences. Of those, 35 people were charged with 178 offences.

During the operation, 524 items of property were seized with 142 items returned to their owners. Cannabis with an estimated street value of £8,000 was seized during the operation.

Det. Sgt Pauline Tyrell said: “Halson and Bonney are prolific burglars who were intent on stealing high value and personal items. They targeted people’s homes while they slept and showed a total disregard for their victims and the financial and emotional impact burglary has on people.”

Anyone with information about burglary can contact police on 0845 1 25 34 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.