Halifax drug addict stole false teeth during seven day crime spree

Jailed: Darren Thornton
Jailed: Darren Thornton

A desperate drug addict who stole a set of false teeth during a seven-day crime spree has been jailed for more than three years.

A court heard today that prolific offender Darren Thornton, 43, suffered a significant drugs relapse at the end of February after his prescription for methadone was lost and he embarked a spate of offending against homes and vehicles in the Calderdale area.

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Barrister Nigel Jamieson said his client left home for several weeks and at one point his wife found him eating out of bins.

Mr Jamieson suggested that Thornton had given up the fight and went on the spree of offending because he wanted to be arrested.

On the night he was arrested Thornton was caught on various CCTV equipment wearing a stolen high visibility jacket and leaving footwear prints and bicycle tracks in the snow.

Thornton, who has more than 30 convictions for 70 offences on his record, pleaded guilty to 13 more crimes including house burglary, attempted house burglary, theft, fraud and possession of a lock knife.

Judge Colin Burn heard that when Thornton broke into a car on the night of his arrest in March he stole various items including a set of false teeth.

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That same night Thornton got into a garage, but was disturbed by the householder and when police officers followed bicycle tracks left in the snow they detained the defendant.

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Prosecutor Lorraine Harris told Bradford Crown Court that police officers recovered false dentures and other property stolen from the car.

Thornton, of Hunter Hill Road, Halifax, had been committing offences since the early 1990s and the court heard that he faced a minimum jail term as a so-called "third strike" burglar.

Mr Jamieson said Thornton's previous offending was the result of his "chronic addiction to drugs", but since being released from prison in 2005 he had got married and become drug free.

"These offences came on the back of a significant relapse into drug taking," he added.

Jailing Thornton for a total of three-and-a-half years Judge Burn noted that the defendant had a lock knife in his possession on the night of his arrest and he said the public were rightly concerned about people going around with knives.

He warned Thomton that if his criminal behaviour continued he faced spending most of the rest of his life in prison.