‘Despicable’ Christmas Day thief jailed for Elland break in

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A “despicable” thief who broke into an Elland shop on Christmas Day while the owner slept upstairs has been jailed.

Craig Hill broke into Contors Dancewear in Huddersfield Road on December 25 and walked out with the till in hand.

Bradford Crown Court heard by his own admissions that the 23-year-old was drunk and had taken cocaine on the day when he carried out the opportunist raid.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, told the court how two members of the public drove past who were concerned with the defendant’s activity and kept him under observation before police arrived and they were able to out Hill.
In an impact statement read out in the court, the owner of the shop said she was “devastated by the attack on her property and livelihood”.

The total losses and damaged caused by Hill totalled £586.

Mr Sharp had also told the court that two days before the burglary police had attended his home on Catherine Street, Elland, to question Hill about other enquiries, but later found a cannabis factory in the attic.

“The defendant took his time opening the door and the reason for that was made apparent when officers walked in,” said Mr Sharp.

“They found the electricity had been bypassed and there was a distinct smell of cannabis. In the attic they found a cannabis factory.

“While the search took place the defendant was not arrested though he was clearly aware of the facility being discovered and left the house.”

Police found 18 plants with an estimated street value of £6,900.

In mitigation, Anne-Marie Hutton, said Hill acknowledged the impact his actions had on the victim and was aware of what he was doing regarding the growing of cannabis which he was using partly for his own use and for commercial use.

Judge Jonathan Rose said their were aggravating features in the circumstances and described hill’s behaviour as “thoughtless”.

“The burglary was a despicable offence, You are rendered despicable by what you did. This lady is living over her business and has been traumatised by what you have done.”

Judge Rose added that every Christmas day the victim would be reminded of what happened to her and he should reflect that while he served time in custody.

Hill, who pleaded guilty to burglary and production of drugs, was sentenced to a total of two years in prison.