A GANG of burglars who preyed on elderly sheltered housing residents were snared when they flogged their loot to an undercover cop.
Craig Broadhurst, 18, his brother Anthony, 21, David Smith, and his son John, 17, Richard Smith, 25, Michael Smith, 16, and Joshua Maude, 21, all admitted conspiracy to commit burglary.
They plotted 13 raids on Halifax homes between last July and September and stole goods worth more than £14,000.
Seven of their victims, aged up to 91, lived in sheltered housing, and two were targeted twice in a month.
Craig Broadhurst, “the main player” in the ring, and Michael Smith also admitted robbing a shop at knifepoint.
The gang was busted by Operation Irondale, a Calderdale-wide crackdown on drug dealers and burglars.
Prosecutor Gill Batts told Bradford Crown Court that an undercover officer, Daz, met Craig Broadhurst in Halifax last January, who offered to sell him electrical goods and gave him his mobile number.
On July 17 that year, two elderly residents of Stansfield Close sheltered housing, Pellon, woke to find their homes had been burgled overnight. They were targeted again less than a month later.
The same month, another home in the complex was raided, plus four flats in the nearby Clement Court and Wadsworth Court sheltered housing.
The gang also burgled family homes in Savile Parade, Haigh Street, Long Lover Lane, and Saxton Street up until September 7.
Within hours of each raid, Craig Broadhurst sent text messages to Daz offering to sell him stolen TVs and other valuables.
Members of the gang were waiting with the goods at his home in Hanson Lane, Pellon, or David Smith’s home in Victoria Road, King Cross, each time.
The court also heard that Craig Broadhurst and Michael Smith robbed cash from the safe at McColl’s, Pellon, on August 12. Staff were cashing up at 11pm when the pair struck.
“Suddenly there was a loud bang, they looked on the CCTV monitor and saw that the window had been smashed with a concrete slab,” said Miss Batts.
“At this point, two males ran into the office pointing knives at them and told them to get on the floor.”
One was Broadhurst and the other was alleged to be Thomas Easton – but he was acquitted of the offence. Smith, who was also armed, had acted as a lookout.
Broadhurst and Smith, of Chestnut Street, King Cross, were both jailed for four years for their parts in the robbery and burglaries.
Joshua Maude, of no fixed address, was jailed for 28 months and John Smith, of Caldbeck Drive, Bolton, was sentenced to 26 months.
Richard Smith, of Warley Road, King Cross, who also admitted supplying £145 worth of cannabis to Daz, was jailed for 18 months.
Anthony Broadhurst, of Moor End Road, Pellon, who also admitted fraud in applying for a £300 loan, was locked up for 17 months.
David Smith will be sentenced on July 28 and was bailed. A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was sentenced to a 12-month rehabilitation order.
Judge John Potter overturned reporting restrictions protecting the identity of Michael and John Smith after the Courier applied to have them lifted.
Sentencing the gang, he said: “You were a team of burglars acting in a planned and professional way. Vulnerable victims were targeted, some of them as old as 75 and 91.
“Family homes were targeted as well, often families with children who were asleep in their beds.
“You took it upon yourselves to invade people’s homes, causing significant distress to your victims and worrying in the community as to who would be targeted next.”
Detective Inspector Gary Stephenson said: “This team preyed on elderly and vulnerable people living in sheltered accommodation in their own community. In my view, they are the lowest of the low.”