A Wirral man is among five of Merseyside’s 'most callous' burglars sentenced to a total of more than 16 years in prison.

Merseyside Police say Anthony Shackleton, 33, of Queens Drive in Prenton was jailed for five years and 10 months at Liverpool Crown Court last Monday (October 23) for burglary and sexual assault.

The court also imposed four years to be served on licence on his release, and his addition to the Sex Offenders Register.

As well as Anthony Shackleton, the other four are:

  • Kevin Lawton, 38, of Prescot Road, Old Swan, who was jailed for three years on Friday, September 15, at Liverpool Crown Court for burglary and attempted burglary. He had committed offences in the Wavertree area during the summer and following enquiries by detectives from Operation Castle, Lawton was identified via CCTV footage and arrested.
  • Alex Rigby, 41, of Stonesteads Way, Bolton, who jailed for seven years in prison on October 13 at Preston Crown Court for a string of burglaries across Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Wales. This was described by police as 'a complex investigation that began in Merseyside and involved burglary detectives liaising with colleagues in three neighbouring forces to bring about Rigby’s arrest'.
  • Robert Patrick Osu, 44, of Botanic Road, Kensington and John Joseph Khan, aged 52, of High Street, Wavertree who had their current custodial sentences for burglary extended when they were sentenced to an additional one year and two months and six months in prison respectively, at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday, October 18.

Detectives from Merseyside Police's dedicated burglary investigation team, known as Operation Castle, have welcomed these sentences but issued an appeal for the public to remain vigilant and ensure their home is secure as the nights draw in.

Detective Inspector Kevin O’Rourke from Operation Castle said: "We are determined to keep putting burglars behind bars, so it is pleasing to see these offenders being given custodial sentences by the courts.

"Between January and September this year, we have seen a seven percent reduction in burglaries when compared with the same period last year, but we also see signs that criminals are taking advantage of the darker autumn nights."

He added: "Between them, these burglars have targeted people’s homes and shown no regard for those people and their possessions.

"Burglary is an invasive crime, and it can be difficult for victims to come to terms with offenders having entered their homes to steal items, which don’t always have huge monetary value, but on a personal level can be irreplaceable.

"The Victim Care Merseyside hub offers support for all victims of crime in Merseyside, and I would urge anyone who is struggling in the aftermath of a burglary or any other crime, to contact the hub for advice and support.

"You can call Freephone 0808 175 3080 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. or submit a contact form on the Victim Care Merseyside website.

"Many burglaries are preventable because offenders are often opportunistic.

"It is important that people take home security seriously and several simple measures will make life difficult for potential burglars.

"Criminals will often try dozens of handles on doors and windows in a street hoping to find at least one that opens easily – make sure yours isn’t one. And remember to make sure you lock the door when you are at home as well as when you go out.

"Don’t advertise your things to criminals – keep laptops and other valuables out of sight and remember to register your electronics and back up any work saved on them.

"Modern video surveillance cameras, including smart doorbells, can be very useful, particularly those with cloud-based apps, but you should check the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s Office website when installing CCTV at home."