Published: 15:00, 27 May 2014
An alert former High Sheriff of Kent sprung into action when she looked over her garden fence and saw two men acting suspiciously, a court heard.
Georgie Warner, who held the post in 2011/2012, went into her home in Brenchley and told her husband Charlie. She then followed the men down the road.
They were holding fishing rods and one had a black bag. When she spoke to them they claimed they had been fishing.
But they were not near an area where they could fish on September 21 2012, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
Mr Warner arrived on the scene and saw there were brass items in the bag which spilled out onto the road. A VW Passat with two men in it was parked nearby.
The police were called and the Warners gave descriptions of two of the men who turned out to be brothers Billy and Tommy Corkery.
Prosecutor Alistair Keith said it was discovered that they had burgled Petteridge Lane Cottage, home of Phillip Massey’s family, close to Mr and Mrs Warner’s Petteridge Place house in Petteridge Lane.
While on bail Billy Corkery, 21, broke into the family home of his uncle Mick Corkery in Linnett Avenue, Paddock Wood, on April 24 last year.
The victim was shocked to find £3,500 worth of damage and that jewellery, two designer belts and other property valued at £1,000 had been taken by his nephew and another man.
Mr Keith said glass from the smashed conservatory door was found on Corkery’s clothing.
His previous convictions were “voluminous”, running to 20 pages, and he was a “three strikes” burglar facing a minimum three-year sentence.
He was jailed for three years and eight months and Tommy Corkery, 22, was sentenced to 10 months.
The brothers, of Fuggles Close, Paddock Wood, admitted the Brenchley burglary. Billy Corkery denied burgling his uncle but was convicted after a trial.
Recorder Matthew Nicklin told Billy Corkery a striking feature of the case was that he stole from his uncle.
“He finds it unbelievable, and I understand that,” he said.
“It must be shocking indeed to find you are the victim of crime at the hands of your own flesh and blood.
“You have a significant history of breaking he law but you are not, it appears to me, a serial and career burglar. If that were the case I would impose a longer sentence.
“It must be shocking indeed to find you are the victim of crime at the hands of your own flesh and blood" - Recorder Matthew Nicklin.
“Many other judges may have taken the view you are deserving of a greater sentence. My overall concern is totality.”
The judge told Tommy Corkery. “You are a young man and it is sad you will spend some time in prison. You will look back on your life in your 30s and 40s and regret your wasted years.
“It is important you have had this hanging over you for some time. I will reflect that in the sentence.
"If you had been sentenced immediately I would have sentenced you to 18 months.”
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