A COUPLE who admitted handling stolen goods after police found a haul of jewellery have been sentenced.

Mark Barrett, 34, and girlfriend, Nicola Finnigan, 32, were charged in January with handling stolen goods following a number of burglaries in Southend, including one at the home of an elderly woman who later died.

Police found a haul of necklaces, bracelets and watches which they believed to have been stolen during burglaries in the Southend, Basildon and Rochford at the couple’s home in Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff.

The couple were sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, July 24, after pleading guilty at Southend Crown Court in June.

Barrett was handed a 15-month imprisonment, suspended for two years after pleading guilty to four counts of handling stolen goods.

He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid community work, with his 10pm-6am house curfew in place for three months.

Finnigan was handed 12-month imprisonment, suspended for one year after pleading guilty to five counts of handling stolen goods.

A woman in her 70s had her home in Westcliff burgled in December 2013. She died earlier this year from natural causes.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a burglary or who has been offered jewellery in unusual circumstances should contact detectives at Southend police station on 101, email andy.copley@essex.pnn.police.ukor if they have information to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.