Prolific burglars stole thousands from takeaways, mosques and religious centres

Stephens, left, and Quigley, right <i>(Image: Lancs Police)</i>
Stephens, left, and Quigley, right (Image: Lancs Police)

Two prolific thieves who went on a burgling spree across Blackburn, stealing cash, items, and charity boxes from takeaways, mosques, and religious centres have been jailed.

Jamie Quigley and Kelvin Stephens committed 14 burglaries between them in April this year, taking thousands of pounds in cash and causing similar amounts of damage to the premises they broke into.

Quigley, who left a half-eaten pie in one of the takeaways he targeted, pleaded guilty to 11 non-dwelling burglaries, while Stephens pleaded guilty to seven.

Four of the burglaries were carried out together, while Quigley committed seven of the burglaries alone, and Stephens carried out three alone.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jamie Quigley
Lancashire Telegraph: Jamie Quigley

Jamie Quigley (Image: Lancs Police)

Prosecuting, Holly Nelson told Preston Crown Court how the spree began overnight on April 7 when Eastern Spice in Blackburn was broken into, and a charity box stolen.

Both defendants entered via the roof, causing £600 worth of damage before leaving via a rear exit.

Ms Nelson told the court: “Overnight on April 8, 6Burgerz in Blackburn was targeted with £330 in cash stolen as well as three tablets worth more than £100 each.

“On this occasion, the fridge doors in the venue were left open which destroyed all the food stock.”

The court also heard how between April 9 and 10, Cube Shisha Bar was broken into by the pair who caused a total of £500 worth of damage and kicked a £300 alarm off the wall, before leaving with just £50 from the till.

The Grand Venue in Blackburn was then targeted by Stephens, who stole £700 from the till and on April 10, he also broke into Khan’s Spice and stole £30, but caused £150 in damage to the roof.

On the same night, cash was also taken from Jaffa in Blackburn, and at around 4.30am Bank View Solicitors had their charity tin with £120 in it taken.

Ms Nelson said Quigley, who has 35 convictions for 82 offences, then continued with his rampage and burgled a mosque on April 14, with the contents of a safe stolen, estimated to be around £2,000.

Lancashire Telegraph: Kelvin Stephens
Lancashire Telegraph: Kelvin Stephens

Kelvin Stephens (Image: Lancs Police)

Fountain Chippy on Accrington Road was hit on the same night, with a peckish Quigley leaving behind a half-eaten pie after he’d smashed the takeaway’s windows and stolen four charity boxes.

Another mosque was targeted with Ramadan donations stolen and then Quigley broke into an Islamic religious centre, taking a safe, which was also full of donations from Ramadan.

Ms Nelson went on: “On April 22, a window at a Greggs store was smashed and £600 from a charity box stolen, before Chester’s takeaway was accessed via an upstairs window and £1,000 worth of items stolen.”

Mitigating for Stephens, Anna Chestnutt said her client had very little memory of his offending as he was under the influence of crack cocaine and spice at the time, but was “horrified that he stole from charity”.

Clare Thomas for Quigley said her client was remorseful and had found being on remand since his arrest in April “difficult”.

Appearing via CVP from HMP Preston, Quigley read out a letter to District Judge Healey and expressed his embarrassment, saying he wanted to “prove to his mum” that he could behave better.

Quigley of Sumner Street, Blackburn, was jailed for two years.

Stephens, who has eight convictions for 19 offences and is of no fixed abode, was also jailed for two years.

District Judge Healey said both defendants would be placed on licence upon their release.