Church burglar jailed at Derry Crown Court for 32 months

Church burglar jailed at Derry Crown Court for 32 months

DERRY is a “safer place” after a “prolific burglary” was jailed for 32 months for robbing churches and homes, say local police.

Bernard Cooke (21), whose address in court papers was given as c/o Hydebank Prison, was jailed today for a total of 32 months at Derry Crown Court.

At the same court last week, he admitted breaking into St Brigid’s (Carnhill), St Patrick’s (Pennyburn) and Mary’s (Ardmore) Churches as well as stealing from seven homes in the city during a two year crime spree from December 2010 to December last year.

The court heard the break-ins were committed while Cooke was on bail for similar offences.

Local police have welcomed the jail sentence stressing they were committed to reducing burglaries in the city and putting more offenders before the courts.

Constable Lisa McKernan, from the Reducing Offending Unit said: “The community will hopefully feel safer knowing that a prolific burglar is behind bars, particularly one who targeted places of worship as well as people’s homes.

“Burglary is a very emotive crime but it is one we can reduce by working together. Locking doors and windows and keeping an eye out for your neighbours’ properties can all help prevent burglars targeting your street.”

Constable McKernan said the Reducing Offending Unit (ROU) was part of a Northern Ireland wide approach to the management of prolific offenders.

She added: “The G District ROU identifies offenders from across Foyle, Strabane, Limavady and Magherafelt who are causing the most harm within the local communities.

“The identified offenders are then closely monitored in a number of different ways – by carrying out frequent bail checks, monitoring the behaviour of individual criminals and where we suspect they have been involved in further crime carrying out searches of their person and their property.”

Constable McKernan said further advice on home/business security could be found on the PSNI website or by contacting your local Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 600 8000.

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