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A burglar from Liverpool who broke into a petrol station in a Cheshire village on Christmas Day has been jailed.

Darren Murphy, of King Street, Liverpool, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday 22 July. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison.

The 33-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and one count of attempted burglary. The offences were committed on the same night.

On the evening of Christmas Eve Murphy, together with three unknown people, travelled to the Tesco supermarket in Whaley Bridge in a silver BMW which had a cloned number plate.

The group were unsuccessful in their attempts to break into the store and fled the scene empty handed.

They then went to the Weaver Service Station in Weaverham, arriving at around 12.20am on Christmas Day.

After breaking into the store, they stole more than £1,900 worth of cigarettes.

The group then drove back to Merseyside.

Murphy’s involvement was detected when officers examining the scene found a crowbar which had traces of his DNA on it.

He was subsequently added to the national wanted list and was later arrested in Merseyside.

During questioning in custody, Murphy denied any involvement in the incidents.

Even when he was told that traces of his DNA had been found at the scene, he continued to deny all knowledge of them.

Despite his initial pleas, on appearing in court and hearing all of the evidence gathered against him, Murphy admitted to being involved in both offences.

Following his sentencing, detective constable Claire Heatley, who led the investigation, said: “While most people were at home preparing for Christmas with family and friends, Murphy and his accomplices were traveling across Derbyshire and Cheshire intent on committing crime.

“After causing more than £800 worth of damage in their failed attempt to break into the store in Whaley Bridge, they travelled to Weaverham near Northwich to target a petrol station.

“They went on to steal almost £2,000 worth of cigarettes before fleeing the scene in their silver car on cloned plates.

“Murphy believed that he was part of the perfect crime and that officers would never be able to trace him. He was sorely mistaken.

“Murphy initially denied any involvement in the offences, but after realising that there was no way out he pleaded guilty to the charges and is now facing the consequences of his actions.

“I hope that Murphy’s sentencing provides some comfort to the victims in the case, and I would like to reassure them that we won’t give up on our efforts to trace the outstanding offenders in this case and that should any new information come to light we will act upon it.”

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “Burglary, both residential and business, is a serious offence.

“As police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, I understand the impact that burglaries have on victims, which is why tackling this serious crime is one of my key priorities.

“I welcome the sentence handed to Murphy and would like to thank all the officers involved in this investigation. As a result of their work, a burglar is now behind bars.”