Burglar sentenced to four years after targeting Penrith and Kendal homes


A prolific burglar who targeted multiple properties of elderly people in Penrith and Kendal has today (Sept 22) been sentenced to four years in prison and given a three year driving ban.

John Donakey, 57, of Bexhill Gardens, St Helens was sentenced with nine counts of burglary dwelling and one of going equipped for theft.

Donakey pleaded guilty to the offences at a previous hearing.

They relate to incidents between 2018 and June this year.

Officers were made aware of one incident following a 999 call from a family member in Cheshire who had access to CCTV who witnessed Donakey in this family’s Cumbrian home as the elderly victim slept in her chair.

Donakey was witnessed on CCTV putting on gloves and rifling thought the victim’s drawers and looking around the property. Officers attended immediately however no male was located at the time.

Detectives attended the following day and conducted enquires with locals in the area who had noticed a vehicle which was not a regular visitor to the area.

Whilst conducting enquires detectives located the vehicle and witnessed Donakey exit the vehicle and wander into the estate in Penrith having fit the description detectives identified themselves to Donakey and arrested him.

Detective Constable Karen Minnion said “Donakey is a prolific burglar who had no issue with entering properties with no regards for the occupants and made excuses for his presence if disturbed.

“Following his arrest in June 2022 we were able to match his DNA to another burglary in 2020. We also looked at historical burglaries with similar
circumstances from 2018 in Kendal and the victims were able to identify Donakey as the person who had entered their homes.”

In October 2020, Donakey was disturbed inside a property in Penrith after the occupant heard noises from upstairs and they were the only occupant within the property at the time. The victim went upstairs to check what the noise was and noticed shadows in the bedroom before Donakey pushed the door open, pushing and shoving past the victim before fleeing the scene.

In July 2018, Donakey was disturbed twice inside the same property and within another property in Kendal. He made excuses each time he was disturbed on one occasion claiming to have been looking for someone before he fled the property.

DC Minnion continued “Everyone should feel safe in their own home, if you have experienced something like this, please report it to us, we take these offences extremely seriously.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the vigilance of communities who have supported this investigation having sighted Donakey in the area before the incidents.

“Today’s sentencing shows that those who commit such offences will be found and brought to justice.”


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