A gang of burglars targeted the homes of wealthy stars, including footballer Raheem Sterling and Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay, and stole more than half a million pounds of luxury goods, a court has heard.
Thomas Mee (42), Vincent Ball (52) and John Barlow (58), all from Liverpool, tried to occupy the English football player's £ 3m villa in Goostrey, Cheshire, November 2018.
The "highly organized and sophisticated house burglars", which also targeted the homes of Bury FC chairman Steve Dale and Mansfield Town FC owner John Radford, today admitted a conspiracy to homes across the UK on Chester Occupy Crown Court.
Prosecutor Simon Parry said: "These three defendants are a team of highly organized and sophisticated burglars who have traveled to different parts of the UK, including here in Cheshire."
The gang of "highly organized" burglars who attempted to steal Raheem Sterling's villa in Cheshire in 2018 today admitted conspiracy to steal houses across the UK
The burglars also targeted the homes of Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay (pictured), Bury FC chairman Steve Dale, and Mansfield Town FC owner John Radford
He said the three targeted the homes of "wealthy people" and used sophisticated techniques such as cloned license plates and "dirty phones" to avoid detection.
The court heard that the defendants tried to citizen Sterling's house on November 4, 2018, but were soon afraid of the alarm system.
Mr. Parry continued: “Fortunately, the alarm system at the address was activated and the burglars were chased away. Nothing was taken. & # 39;
Ten days later, on November 14, 2018, the three men checked into a Buckinghamshire hotel before heading to Jay Kay's home in Horsenden.
Mr. Parry said the singer's housekeeper noticed that an upstairs window was open and found that a camera had been stolen.
Between November 2018 and October 2019, 14 properties in Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire jewelry, watches and handbags totaling over £ 550,000 were taken.
Photos of some handbags were found on the phone from Mee, who admitted to dealing with stolen goods
In a statement read in court, Cheryl Batson, who had the 146,000 pound jewelry and handbags and a Louis Vuitton scarf from her home in Willaston, Cheshire, said she was suffering from anxiety and distress after the raid.
She said, "I have a heartbreaking feeling of loss over the sentimental jewelry that belonged to my late grandmother.
"I cannot emphasize the grief I feel when these items are taken away from me."
On October 5, 2019, the burglars in Mr. Dale's home in Prestbury were disturbed.
Watches between £ 300,000 and £ 500,000 were dropped by the intruders when Mr. Dale's son started the chase and they left the property with only £ 10.
They were later arrested, and items such as balaclavas, binoculars, crowbars, and cloned license plates were found in a car the men used.
The "highly organized and sophisticated house burglars" today admitted a conspiracy to citizen homes across the UK at Chester Crown Court
Paige Milian had returned from shopping to find a man in her £ 3m villa in Cheshire in 2018
When a Mee property was searched, the officers also found £ 125,000 in cash.
Andrew Alty, who defended Mee, said it was the defendant's case that the money was legitimate.
Chester Judge Steven Everett's recorder described Mee as "ignorant and selfish" for sending a letter to one of his victims to express his remorse.
Anthony Russell, whose property in Lymm, Cheshire, was also broken up by the gang, said, "I just hope this is absolutely real, but maybe we would have preferred not to receive this letter."
Judge Everett adjourned the sentence until Monday.
He said, "These three defendants must appreciate the impact of their horrific acts on all of these people."
In 2019 it was announced that Sterling had been forced to buy a special guard dog to protect his luxury home after his fiancee entered.
Paige Milian had returned from shopping to find a man in her Cheshire mansion.
After buying the dog, Sterling posted a photo of the dog in a costume on Instagram with the caption: "How do you spend Halloween? Big Okan is trick or treating for Halloween !!! & # 39;
A window was broken in the back of the house and the thief is said to have fled with valuables.
While Paige was not injured in the break-in, the incident caused Raheem to reportedly spend £ 15,000 on a Rottweiler guard dog named Okan.
A source told Sun the previous Sunday, "Paige was obviously upset. Her hands were full of shopping when she came in to find the intruder.
She was scared and the man escaped. Raheem was so shocked that he hired a 24/7 security team and paid £ 15,000 for the watchdog from a specialized protection firm. & # 39;
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