A BARNSLEY burglar who committed a string of offences has been jailed.

Lewis Merritt, from Station Road, Bolton-upon-Dearne, pleaded guilty in June to charges of burglary and fraud and was given a 25-month sentence at Sheffield Crown Court last Friday.

The court was told how over the last six months, Merritt and his accomplice - Rotherham’s Shane Walker - targeted addresses in the Brampton and Manvers areas, stealing various items including electronics, children’s toys, bank cards, money and ‘irreplaceable’ jewellery.

Merritt, 27, then used stolen bank cards to purchase large quantities of alcohol.

Detective Constable Jack Mitchell praised officers’ work in securing the convictions, which also saw Walker jailed for four years and ten months.

He also warned residents of a spike in break-ins during the festive period, and urged vigilance.

“As we enter the festive period, we sadly see an increase of crimes of this nature,” he said.

“I am pleased that both Walker and Merritt will spend time in jail for their crimes, which will hopefully provide comfort and peace of mind to their victims and the local community.

In Text Promo Image

“We want to assure the community that there will be consequences for people who commit these types of crimes without fear of repercussions.

“I want to highlight how mindful members of the public should be around home security, fraud and cyber crime at this time of year, and to contact your local neighbourhood policing team.”

South Yorkshire Police ranks as the worst-affected force in the country for festive break-ins, with 6,121 recorded in the months of November and December in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

It works out at 148.5 burglaries per 100,000 residents - considerably higher than second-placed Cleveland’s 128.1 and London’s Metropolitan Police in third with 110.5, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Superintendent Peter Thorp, who is the force lead for neighbourhood crime, added: “Unfortunately, we do see areas across the region which have higher levels of robbery or theft-related incidents.

“This is usually due to those areas having a higher number of people moving around, such as in city or town centres.

“These environments provide opportunities for thieves to slip away without being noticed.

“Having visible officers out and about during peak times not only provides some reassurance for the community, but also acts as a deterrent for criminals who are looking for those opportunities.

“During the lead up to the festive period, we want to remind people to stay alert and always keep their personal belongings on them.

“If you see any suspicious behaviour, please report it to us via 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergency crimes.