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 The Climbers Shop, Ambleside, in May 2018.

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

Cumbria Police 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.”

Jackets worth £12,500 were stolen in The Climbers Shop raid.

In Carlisle, a total of £27,000 worth of men's designer clothing was stolen in two burglaries - one on May 22, 2018 and another in December last year.

Queen and Wilkinson were also involved in the attempted burglary of House of Fraser in the early hours of March 5 this year. They were found at the back of the store and arrested.