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Posted on 15:42:00 on 13th November 2020

Ashley Queen

Two men who conspired to burgle Carlisle’s House of Fraser store have been jailed today for a total of five years and seven months.

Ashley Queen, 32, and Rhys Wilkinson, 19, were handed the custodial sentences after being caught by detectives investigating the theft of designer clothes worth thousands of pounds.

Queen, of Dunmallet Rigg, Carlisle, received the longer sentence – 46 months – after admitting conspiring to burgle the city centre store, as well as a burglary at a store in Ambleside.

Wilkinson, of Coalfell Avenue, Carlisle, was sentenced to 21 months after admitting conspiring to burgle Carlisle city centre’s branch of House of Fraser.

Officers today welcomed the sentences, saying burglaries would not be tolerated – whether it was shops, other businesses or homes targeted.

Detective Constable Mike Gilsenan, North Cumbria Crime and Safeguarding Team, said: “Operation Discovery was set up following a number of high-value commercial burglaries in north Cumbria. It saw a dedicated team of detectives undertake a complex and protracted investigation due to the organised nature of each burglary. Ultimately the aim was to bring those responsible to justice.

“Stores such as these that fell victim to these crimes provide employment and contribute to our local economies. These are not victimless crimes.

“We will not tolerate any burglaries of any kind of properties.

“Those who engage in these crimes can expect to face a police investigation and prosecution.

“Both men now have time to reflect on their actions.”

Queen pleaded guilty to burglary in relation to a raid at Climber Shop in Ambleside on May 17 2018. Jackets worth £12,500 were stolen. A getaway car was found abandoned afterwards, along with the stolen clothing. He was also involved in a burglary at House of Fraser days later, in which designer Hugo Boss clothes worth more than £17,000 were stolen.

Queen and Wilkinson were involved in a high-value raid at House of Fraser on December 10 2019. Clothes by the designer brand CP Clothing, worth £10,000, were stolen.

Queen and Wilkinson were caught by officers in the early hours of 5 March where they were found at the back of the House of Fraser store. 

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