Farm burglar loot was in washing machine

Mark Snape, burglar
Mark Snape, burglar

Burglars who stole cash from an elderly couple living in a remote farmhouse were foiled when police found half of the stolen cash in a sock hidden in a washing machine.

Career burglar Mark Snape and Andrew Hodgkinson targeted a remote farm in Wheelton, Chorley, in February.

Snape had only recently been released from a six year term for a drugs conspiracy.

Hodgkinson, 33, of Ullswater Road, Chorley, had previously served four years for a car jacking.

Preston Crown Court heard they used a trolley to steal a safe, wheeling it across the farm to put it in a vehicle. It contained cash and paperwork worth £1,800, belonging to a couple in their 60s.

Police found footprint marks that were later found to match theirs.

During a raid at Hodgkinson’s address, footwear and dirty clothes were found in a washing machine, while half the cash was found in a second washing machine in the hallway, Recorder Shaw was told.

Father-of-one Snape, a burglar since his teens, grew up on the Liptrott estate in Chorley. He was jailed for three years while Hodgkinson, who is stepfather to three children, got 18 months suspended for two years.

A burglary at another remote farmhouse in Adlington, where an 88-year-old woman lived, will lie on file.

DC Warren Gibson of Chorley police, said: “The sentencing is slightly disappointing as we had hoped Hodgkinson would be off Lancashire’s streets for a while.

“However it is no doubt reassuring to victims Snape has been caged.

“These criminals are childhood friends who systematically planned before and after the burglary, as was shown in communications between them.”