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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Cumbria crime pair ask police for directions - and end up in jail

A man and woman who flagged down a police car when they got lost after one of them broke into a house have both been jailed.

Craig James Weaver and Hazel Mattison Lowe, both 34, found themselves in Penrith – where they used to live – and were planning to catch a train after raiding the house in Dalston on the night of August 21.

When they could not find the station they asked the police for directions, Carlisle Crown Court heard, but instead of helping them the officers – suspicious of their dishevelled appearance and the fact that they were both carrying bags in the middle of the night – arrested them.

“They had both clearly been drinking and Ms Mattison Lowe was covered in foliage as if she had been dragged through a hedge,” prosecuting counsel Laura Nash told the court.

When the police searched the couple’s bags it became clear that the pair, who both had long criminal records, had committed two crimes in Carlisle Road, Dalston, Ms Nash said.

First, it was discovered, Weaver had broken into Julie Whitfield’s car and stolen her satnav and CDs.

And then he went to a woman’s house opposite, while she and her husband were asleep upstairs, and got away with £1,100-worth of property including a laptop and DVD player cash and electrical equipment after ransacking the lounge and kitchen.

Mattison Lowe then willingly played her part by dishonestly handling some of the stolen property.

Neither Mrs Whitfield – who by unlucky coincidence had been the victim of a burglary the previous week – nor the other woman were aware of what had happened until the police told them some of their property had been found in the bags Weaver and Mattison Lowe had been carrying, Ms Nash said.

Weaver, who used to live in Penrith but had lately had an address in Alexander Street, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to burgling the house and to stealing from Mrs Whitfield’s car.

The court heard he had 115 previous convictions, including one for shoplifting for which he had been in court just hours before he committed the Dalston burglary. His defence advocate Patrick Shimmin said Weaver was a heroin addict who had taken Valium that day, so could not remember much about what had happened.

Weaver was jailed for a total of three years. Mattison Lowe, who also once lived in Penrith before moving to Carlisle, where she lived for a time in Chatsworth Square, pleaded not guilty to the burglary and theft charges but guilty to two alternative offences of handling stolen property.

Her barrister Greg Hoare said she too was a drug addict and had recently been diagnosed as bipolar.

He said she had made so much progress while in prison on remand that she might now be fit to be released on a suspended sentence, but Judge Paul Batty QC rejected that suggestion saying that with no home and no family to support her “it would be setting her up to fail”.

Mattison Lowe was jailed for 12 months.

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