Burglars who posed as golfers to carry out a raid on a Chorley clubhouses have been jailed – after they were caught on camera.
Daniel Lloyd, 43, and Joe McCaughey, 26, also targeted golf clubs in Nelson and Rossendale during their 16-month nationwide crime spree.
The National Crime Agency believe they could have raided up to 1,000 lockers and stolen equipment worth more than £750,000 from across 17 counties.
The pair dressed in golf attire, chatted to golfers and duped members of staff to access changing rooms. They forced lockers open in the middle of the day and stole items including golf clubs, bags and clothing.
Lloyd and McCaughey were responsible for at least 36 separate burglaries, including four in Lancashire in one day, some of which were caught on CCTV.
Steve Baldwin, head of regional investigations at the National Crime Agency, 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.”
The pair came to the attention of the NCA after an investigation into a corrupt criminal defence lawyer who was 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.
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 over £800,000, he drove high value vehicles including a Bentley and a Range Rover.
Mr Baldwin added: “Our focus is now the financial side of the investigation and stripping them of their assets.”
Between 6am and 10pm on September 1, 2009, they stole equipment valued at £2,300 from Chorley Golf Club, in Heath Charnock.
Lloyd, of Holwood Estate, Westerham Road, Keston, was locked up for five years, while McCaughey, of King Henry’s Drive, New Addington, Croydon, was jailed for three years after they were found guilty of conspiracy to burgle.