A BURGLAR who took part in a raid in which seven guns were stolen from a Rugby house was also involved in an incident in which a shotgun was fired into a couple’s home while their two young children were inside.
And although he was not the gunman, Jack Moreton has been jailed for 11 years by a judge at Warwick Crown Court.
Moreton, 26, of Donnington Avenue, Coventry, appeared in the dock with his brother Rhys Moreton, 22, of the same address, and Darryl Brown, 27, of Marina Close, Coventry.
Jack Moreton was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, to which he had pleaded guilty, with a consecutive three-year term for a burglary at a house in Nuneaton.
He was also given further concurrent sentences for a burglary in Rugby, possessing a sawn-off shotgun, assisting an offender, handling stolen property, possessing a second shotgun and dangerous driving, which he had also admitted.
Brown, who admitted three charges of burglary and one of stealing a VW Golf, was jailed for two years and four months.
And Rhys Moreton was jailed for two years and two months after pleading guilty to three charges of burglary and one of being carried in the stolen car.
Prosecutor Rupert Jones said that in June last year the police went to Jack Moreton’s home at the time in Mellowship Road, Coventry, looking for Jay Bennett, who was wanted for burglary.
Bennett, who has since been jailed, was arrested, and Moreton was also arrested for helping him evade capture.
Two days earlier Jack Moreton had been involved in a burglary at a house in Hillmorton Road, Rugby, during which a gun cabinet was forced open and four rifles and three shotguns worth more than £17,000 were stolen.
One of the shotguns was found by the police in the loft of his home, with his fingerprints on it, together with a sawn-off double-barrel shotgun.
That gun had been shortened after being taken during a break-in at a farm near Shrewsbury, which Mr Jones pointed out was an area with which Moreton was familiar.
He was granted bail – because at the time the police were not aware of his involvement in a terrifying incident at the home of a couple and their two young children in Villa Road, Coventry, the previous month.
Three men wearing balaclavas and gloves had gone to the house at 10.30pm and began kicking the door.
As the man who lived there braced himself against the door to stop them getting in, his partner called the police and tried to calm the children, who had begun screaming in fear.
A shotgun was then used to smash a pane of glass in the door, and the barrel was poked through as one of the men outside told the person with the shotgun to ‘let it off.’
At first the holder of the gun seemed reluctant, and it was withdrawn before being pushed through the window again and discharged – but fortunately the occupier had moved out of the way just in time to avoid being hit.
The three men then left the scene in a 4×4 driven by Moreton, who had stopped at a shop on the way there to buy three pairs of gloves for the men who actually went to the door.
On September 8 Brown and Rhys Moreton took part in a burglary at a house in Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth, during which about £300 in coins was stolen, together with a television, a computer and the back door key.
Four days later Brown was involved in a break-in at an address in Ridge Close, Rugby, from where the intruders took jewellery, including a wedding ring, and the key to a VW Golf which was then stolen from the drive.
On September 14 Rhys Morgan took part in a burglary at a house in Jefferson Way, Coventry, but nothing was stolen.
Then later the same day, all three defendants broke into a house in Woodcote Avenue, Nuneaton, by using a brick to smash a window in the door, and stole watches and other property.
But a postman had seen two of them acting suspiciously, and had taken a note of the registration number of their car, the stolen VW Golf, and passed it to the police.
Officers in an unmarked police car spotted the Golf shortly afterwards in Weddington Road, being driven by Jack Moreton who sped away at up to 70mph towards the town centre.
He then lost control of the Golf and hit another car, causing that car to skid onto the pavement by a zebra crossing as the Golf flipped onto its roof, added Mr Jones.
Jailing the three, Judge Anthony Potter said: “Jack Moreton, the most serious offence you face is the conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.
“It was taken to the scene with premeditation to cause fear of violence at the very least, and it was discharged, narrowly avoiding causing serious injury to the occupants.
“The intent was as serious as it gets. You are clearly a man who has involved yourself in very serious criminality.”