‘Career criminal’ is jailed

Peter Westney
Peter Westney

Two men have been jailed after a BMW car stolen during a house burglary later crashed into another vehicle in Halifax.

Peter Westney, 34, who was involved in the break-in and a passenger at the time of the collision, was sentenced to a total of four years behind bars.

Bradford Crown Court heard on Friday that Westney, of Alexander Terrace, Pellon, started hs offending more than 20 years ago, serving lenghty stints in prison for aggravated burglary and robbery offences.

Co-defendant John Sales, 34, of Hollins Lane, Sowerby Bridge, was jailed for 22 months after admitting being behind the wheel of the BMW when it crashed into a VW Golf which had been turning left out of Eton Street, Halifax. The Golf’s driver blacked out in the crash and was left with bruising.

Prosecutor Robert Galley said the keys to the BMW had been stolen with electrical items in a burglary at a house in Boothtown in July.

Westney admitted charges of burglary and aggravated vehicle taking. Some of the items were later recovered from his home.

Sales, who started using heroin when he was 15, admitted aggravated vehicle taking. Both men were banned from driving for two years and Sales was ordered to take an extended driving test. Referring to the men’s extensive previous convictions, Judge Jonathan Rose said it was a depressingly familiar story involving periods in custody, attempts to help with community orders, drug taking and a return to crime. He described Westney as “a career criminal” who turned his hand to various forms of offending. Sentencing Sales the judge expressed concern about the maximum sentence for aggravated vehicle taking being only two years and that only reserved for the worst cases. Sales was jailed for 18 months for the offence but the judge revoked a previous community order and added an extra four months.

Det Ch Insp Terry Long, of Calderdale police, issued a warning about Hanoi burglaries - where burglars steal car keys. He said: “Hanoi type burglaries can be extremely distressing for victims because the thieves have sneaked into their home and made off in their pride and joy before they can do anything about it.

“There are plenty of simple things motorists can do to prevent becoming a victim of Hanoi-style burglaries. These include parking your car in a garage if possible, keeping car keys out of view and easy reach, locking doors and windows and even using a wheel clamp.

“If you know a neighbour is on holiday, you should also be vigilant and report suspicious activity where people are paying particular attention to cars parked on driveways.”