A 22-year-old burglar who was part of a gang which targeted two high-value cars on the driveway of a Queensbury home has been jailed for 45 months.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC described the early hours break-in at the detached property last October as “a top category burglary” because it was carried out at night by a group who had targeted the premises while the family, including young children, were asleep.
Burglar Lee Woodhead, who was still on prison licence for a previous jail term, was locked up after he admitted involvement in the break-in which resulted in the gang driving away a valuable Volkswagen Golf and and Audi Q3.
Bradford Crown Court heard that the householder had been working late at his home that night, but went to bed about 2am leaving the house locked and secure.
Prosecutor Jessica Heggie said the next morning they discovered that the two cars were missing from the driveway and the car keys had been taken from the kitchen table.
The court heard that a patio door lock had been snapped and crime scene investigators took photographs of footwear impressions found on the dining room floor.
A few days later Woodhead, of no fixed abode, was arrested on an unrelated matter and his trainers were matched with the footwear impressions.
In victim impact statements the burgled couple described how the break-in had left them with feelings of paranoia and violation.
Although the two vehicles were recovered, the court heard that other property such as children’s clothes had been discarded on a muddy track.
Judge Durham Hall was told that Woodhead had previous convictions for burglary, conspiracy to burgle and robbery and his solicitor advocate Julian White said his client had had “a wholly dysfunctional life”.
He said Woodhead had been living independently since being expelled from school and had served various periods of imprisonment.
“He wants to say he’s going to do his very, very best. He says I want to stop this life. I want to live normally,” said Mr White.
Judge Durham Hall said Woodhead, and whoever else was involved, had gone to the family home and taken the two vehicles which the couple had no doubt “worked and scraped for”.
“This is a top category, top end burglary,” said the judge.
“At night, a group, equipped, targeted, young children, on licence....the list is endless.”
The judge said he had to reflect credit for Woodhead’s guilty plea to the burglary and that meant that a prison sentence of five years had to be reduced to 45 months.
“If you come out and do it again you’re looking at a lot longer,” he warned Woodhead.
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