A Letterkenny man has been jailed for masterminding a series of daring burglaries on some of Britain’s most historic houses.

Geoff Harkin visited many of England’s finest homes pretending he was a history lover.

But the 58 year old would return later and burgle the houses after casing the homes for possible alarms and security systems.

The daring thief he even became a member of the National trust of Britain so he could get access to the stately homes without being suspected of any wrong-doing.

During his burglary spree the Donegal man is suspected of robbing a total of €1.4 million in antiques including a €230,000 clock.

The grey-haired grandfather sold most of the goods at car-boot sales because he was afraid of getting caught trying o get big money for the valuable items.

Geoff, whose first name is Graham, got tired of selling his knock-off goods for cheap and decided he wanted to get a bigger slice of the action.

 Using the €230,000 clock as bait, Harkin contacted the Bagot family form whom he stole the item from a house they owned in the Lake District.

He said he had come across the timepiece and wanted to collect an advertised reward of €25,000 as well as €5,750 for his own troubles.

By that stage police had already suspected he may have been behind the raids after spotting him on CCTV at a number of the posh country homes taking guided tours.

He arranged to meet at a motorway service station in Manchester for the handover but got the shock of his life when he was pounced on by police.

Detectives found the clock in a cardboard box in his car and arrested him.

He appeared in court last week and was jailed for nine years after prosecutors accused him of “looting history for profit.”




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