Two professional burglars have been jailed for a nationwide series of raids on golf clubs, including clubs in Chorley and Leyland.
Daniel Lloyd, 43, of Westerham Road, Keston, and Joe McCaughey, 26, of King Henry’s Drive, New Addington, Croydon, were found guilty of conspiracy to burgle following a three-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
They received prison sentences of five and three years respectively.
The men were responsible for at least 36 separate burglaries in 17 counties, including four in Lancashire in a single day, some of which were caught on CCTV.
They targeted Leyland Golf Club in May 2009 and Chorley Golf Club in September 2009.
The pair came to the attention of the National Crime Agency (NCA) following an investigation into a criminal defence lawyer sentenced last year for perverting the course of justice.
Lloyd was one of the lawyer’s close associates and was arrested at the time.
When officers searched Lloyd’s home, they found evidence on his computer of internet searches for golf club thefts, locker security and lock picking.
Further investigation revealed that Lloyd and McCaughey were the subjects of a wanted appeal by police which featured on BBC’s Crimewatch in 2010.
At the time, police had asked for information on two men they believed had struck 60 times while clubhouses were open for business by posing as golfers and brazenly raiding lockers.
Steve Baldwin, the NCA’s head of regional investigations, said: “These men were professional burglars who tried to mask their identities by avoiding CCTV cameras, changing their clothes to enter the same clubs over and over again, and using false number plates on their vehicles.
“We proved they had stolen equipment from hundreds of golfers, which they disposed of here and overseas. Our focus is now the financial side of the investigation and stripping them of their assets.”
Officers believe Lloyd funded his lifestyle by committing crime as there are no tax records to support his claim that he was a businessman involved in property and car deals.
In addition to his luxury house, which is worth more than £800,000, he drove high-value vehicles including a Bentley and a Range Rover.
Although evidence relating to 36 golf club burglaries was used during the trial, officers believe Lloyd and McCaughey were responsible for many more and could have raided up to 1,000 lockers and stolen equipment worth more than £750,000.
The duo moved around clubhouses in golf attire and even chatted to other golfers.
When they gained access to the changing rooms, which they sometimes did by duping members of staff, they stole full sets of golf clubs, shoes, clothing and even cherry-picked the more expensive clubs.
The main vehicle they used was a Chrysler Grand Voyager, which was registered to an address linked to Lloyd. He sold the vehicle shortly after the Crimewatch programme was aired.