Three Chilean nationals who went on a burglary spree in Cheshire’s “Golden Triangle” after travelling thousands of miles to the UK have been jailed.
Brothers Nicholas Carrasco Oviedo, 26, and Alexis Carrasco Oviedo, 25, and Joel Ureta, 42, targeted homes in Prestbury, Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Knutsford shortly after flying into the UK in January.
They hired a Mercedes car at Manchester Airport and then booked themselves into a hotel in nearby Sale under a false name as they hatched a “sophisticated plan” to steal high-value items such as jewellery, watches and designer handbags and clothing.
Chester Crown Court heard that Chileans coming to the UK in winter and committing offences of burglary was part of a “national pattern of offending” in which cash or stolen items would then be mailed back to South America.
Frances Willmott, prosecuting, said a message later found on Nicholas Oviedo’s phone said they would be taking some of their haul to “the Romanians” in exchange for cash.
The trio broke into seven homes between January 4 and 15 as they made off with goods totalling more than £106,000 and caused another £12,000 in damage by either smashing upstairs windows or patio doors to gain entry.
One victim, a neighbour of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, had a set of cufflinks and a watch worth £2,000 stolen.
The raiders also struck at the home of a 75-year-old widow and made off with precious jewellery worth £10,000, including her grandmother’s engagement ring.
But a neighbour saw them make their escape on January 15 and noted the registration number of the Mercedes hire car.
Later that evening the vehicle was stopped by police in Manchester and items of jewellery, along with a balaclava, were discovered and the defendants were arrested.
The court heard all three men were remorseful for their crimes.
Alexis Oviedo had served a three-year jail sentence in Chile for committing a robbery as a youth while father-of-three Ureta had been imprisoned for burglary in his home country.
Nicholas Oviedo has no previous convictions and was an ex-professional footballer in Chile who “clearly had fallen on hard times”, the court was told.
Nicholas Oviedo was jailed for four years, while the other two defendants were sentenced to four years and eight months each in prison after they all admitted seven counts of burglary.
Sentencing, Judge Steven Everett, Honorary Recorder of Chester, told them: “It is clear there was a very sophisticated plan for you to commit these burglaries and then dispose of the items you had stolen.
“You must have had ready-made contacts in this country for you to know where to sell these items. I have no doubt that you chose your victims and their houses very carefully.
“It is important that I send out a message to you, and others like you, that if you choose to do this you are going to prison for a significant period of time.”
He ordered they be deported to Chile when they had served at least half of their sentence in custody and that none of them should ever be allowed back in the UK.
Last month, two other Chilean “tourism” burglars were jailed at the same court after they went on a similar ransacking spree in the run-up to last Christmas, including burgling the home of ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.