THE STATELY THIEF; Irishman Who Robbed Mansions and Castles in England Jailed for 3yrs

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE CASTLE

A MAN spent a long weekend in England plundering mansions before his accomplice caught a ferry back home to Ireland with the loot, a court has heard.

Jobless Andrew Shannon, 44, robbed six stately homes of antiques and paintings worth thousands of euro. He even had the addresses of the stately homes keyed into his car's sat-nav.

The father of three, who was jailed for three years on Monday, travelled from Dublin to target buildings including Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth House.

Alongside an accomplice who cannot be named, he stole paintings, ornamental lions, porcelain vases, figurines, expensive books and an antique walking stick.

The four-day spree ended on Sunday, August 3, last year at 4.50pm in Castle Howard, Yorkshire, when a caretaker saw Shannon on the second floor where the public are not allowed.

Shannon said he was looking for a toilet, but the worker became suspicious and found two watercolour paintings worth around EUR890 each hidden in a laptop bag, both with a yellow tag confirming they were from the building.

He also had a walkie talkie which he used to communicate with his accomplice who fled the scene in a car. Using CCTV footage, gardai traced the car and found a sat-nav system which had been preprogrammed for the six stately homes.

When police contacted the five other homes, staff were able to confirm they had all been targeted by the pair. Officers also discovered that Shannon had previously been jailed for attempting to steal two paintings worth EUR10,000 each from Ashford Castle in Mayo.

Sentencing him at York Crown Court, Recorder Deborah Sherwin said: "Your purpose for travelling to England was to carry out this spree of theft. …