Club raid gang burglar jailed

Gebreyonas was fined �200 and given a 12-week curfew
Gebreyonas was fined �200 and given a 12-week curfew

A father-to-be has been jailed for a year after a three-man burglary gang targeted the clubhouse of Greetland-based Heath rugby club.

A judge described the early hours attack on the Stainland Road premises as a sophisticated offence committed by “very well prepared burglars”.

The intruders only fled the scene when one of them kicked open a store room door to find club chairman Paul Sutcliffe sleeping over on the premises.

Prosecutor Lorraine Harris told Recorder David Osbourne that the clubhouse had been hosting a wedding function the night before and was due to hold a similar event the next day so Mr Sutcliffe had been staying overnight in order to get an early start with the preparations.

At about 5am Mr Sutcliffe was suddenly woken by the store room door being forced open by one of the gang.

Miss Harris said CCTV footage showed three suspects with large ladders entering the grounds of the club that August morning and damaging security lights by cutting wires and smashing bulbs.

The attackers removed alarm bell boxes and waited to see if anyone turned up before two of them climbed onto the balcony area where a window was smashed and a car-jack was used to “pop” the metal security bars.

Internal doors were forced open before the intruders discovered Mr Sutcliffe and fled the scene.

Jordan Crossley, 25, of Grange Street, Lee Mount, Halifax, was linked to the burglary following a DNA hit on blood found at the point of entry and on the clubhouse dance floor.

Crossley pleaded guilty to the burglary charge at an earlier hearing and today Recorder Osbourne said he could not suspend the prison sentence despite submissions from his barrister Ken Green.

Mr Green said Crossley’s partner was due to give birth next month and he had applied to go on a plumbing course at Halifax College.

The court heard that the intruders had caused more than £1,100 worth of damage to the clubhouse.

Recorder Osbourne said there had clearly been planning and good organisation involved in the burglary and he noted that Crossley was already subject to a community sentence for offences of violence committed in 2014.