Motorsports raider netted £41,000 haul

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A MAN has been convicted of carrying out a £41,000 raid on a motorsports business.

James Murphy, from Blackpool, had told a jury at Preston Crown Court trial he had never been near Birketts Motorsports in Barrow.

But police found a set of pliers at the scene with his DNA on them which he could not suitably account for.


On top of that he claimed a stolen bike found at his home had been innocently bought on a camping weekend at the time the raid took place.

After more than five hours of deliberations, the jury hearing his case returned a guilty verdict on the burglary charge.

The 29-year-old, of Victory Road, has been remanded on conditional bail for sentencing to take place on March 21.

He has been warned that all sentencing options, including prison, are open to the sentencing judge at the next hearing of his case.

The court had heard how the burglary in April last year left the showroom “almost empty” of the valuable stock kept on the premises.

Bikes, clothing, helmets, boots, other accessories and cash had all been taken.

The defendant’s DNA was found on some pliers at the scene.

His vehicle had been seen in the area around the time of the incident.

The court was told during the trial Murphy had a previous conviction for burglary and offences of vehicle interference and taking vehicles without consent.

The defendant, who said he had been “around bikes all his life”, said he had travelled to Cumbria with his girlfriend at the relevant time for a long weekend at nearby Port Haverigg.

In the past he had competed in bike racing, until being stopped by a serious accident.

He said he had met a group of motorbike enthusiasts at the site and had been impressed by the stunts they were performing on a trick bike.

He told the jury he ended up buying a bike from them because he had been so impressed at the technical ability of the machine.

The group had earlier mentioned they would be coming into possession of “some bikes form an insurance job”.

In evidence, he told the jury: “We noticed a bike, like a mountain bike, with an engine.

“I was intrigued by it and had never seen anything like it.”

As to why his DNA was found on some pliers at Birketts Motorsports address, he said he had been trying to untangle some wiring wrapped around the bike he ended up purchasing with a set of pliers and they may have been the ones which ended up at the premises.

He claimed his vehicle had been spotted a day or so earlier, because he had gone to meet up with friends who were also travelling to the camp that weekend, but who didn’t know the route.