Gang-of-four who burgled homes across Yorkshire jailed

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Luke Cochrane, 23, Daniel Jowett, 23, Stephen MacDonald, 25, and Amir Khan, 22, stole cars, bank cards and mobile phones in a spate of robberies in May this year.

Khan, of Lombard Street, King Cross, broke into a house on Springwood Avenue, Copley, in the early hours of May 9.

He stole a camcorder, an iPod and keys to a Toyota Land Cruiser and an Audi A4.

At 5am that morning he was seen driving the Audi in Bradford in convoy with Cochrane.

Texts between the two men, that were found on Khan’s mobile, confirmed that the car was sold for £1,000.

Cochrane, of Winter Street, King Cross, committed a similar burglary at Old Saw Mill Cottages, Ripponden, on May 15.

He stole the keys to a Volvo C70, bank cards, a laptop and a camera, which was later found at Khan’s home.

The owners had just returned from holiday that day and were asleep when Cochrane broke into the house at around 11pm.

CCTV footage showed Cochrane’s Astra and the Volvo C70 being driven through Sowerby Bridge at 3am the next morning.

He later used the stolen bank cards to withdraw £300 from a cash point. CCTV cameras showed Cochrane getting into his own Astra and Khan driving the stolen Volvo.

He was seen with Khan, on May 21, driving the Volvo, which now had false registration plates that had been stolen from a car at Halifax Swimming Pool the night before.

At 3pm on May 23 Cochrane, and an unknown man, went into Todmorden High School and made his way to the headteacher’s office.

They stole a laptop before escaping through a toilet window. Police founds Cochrane’s fingerprint on the window and later discovered the laptop abandoned close by.

Cochrane also admitted charges of dangerous driving over an incident on October 26, 2010.

He pulled out in front of police officers on Blackwall, Halifax, at 3.30pm, before speeding off.

He drove on the wrong side of the road, went through red lights and reached speeds of 70mph in the chase which lasted for around three minutes before he crashed into a parked van.

Police found him hiding under a parked car after trying to flee from the crash scene.

MacDonald, of Crossley Terrace, Ovenden, and another man broke into a flat in Boothtown, at 4.45pm on May 25.

The owner of the flat was watching television when the men burst in - he confronted them but was pushed into a wall.

MacDonald unplugged his £500 TV and walked out with it. The homeowner was elbowed in the head as he tried to stop them leaving.

Cochrane, MacDonald and Jowett were involved in a joint burglary near York on May 18.

The three men drove to Bilton-in-Ainsty and broke into a home stealing bank cards, cash and a mobile phone.

The four men pleaded guilty to all charges against them at Bradford Crown Court.

Cochrane and MacDonald were both sentenced to three years and six months in prison while Jowett and Khan were handed three year sentences.

Detective Inspector Gary Stephenson from Calderdale CID said: “These were travelling, organised criminals who committed offences in West and North Yorkshire.

“We set up a specialist team to look at these offenders and gathered overwhelming evidence against them.

“The sentences handed out today reflect the serious nature of the crimes they committed.”