Neighbours had to move their cars after vehicle set alight in Greetland street during early hours “rampage”

One car was burnt out and eight others had their tyres slashed or punctured after a 22-year-old man went on a “rampage” in streets in Greetland and Elland last summer.
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William Smith was said to have been “in a dark place” after a fall-out with his partner when he indiscriminately attacked vehicles and homes during the early hours of August 2.

Smith, of no fixed abode, was today (Wed) jailed for a total of four years and three months after he admitted committing 13 offences that night and then carrying two further burglary offences while he was on bail.

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Prosecutor Lydia Pearce told Bradford Crown Court that Smith’s offending began just after 1am when he got into a Nissan Note vehicle and stole about £3 in loose change.

William SmithWilliam Smith
William Smith

About half an hour later he got into a Ford Focus parked up on Featherbed Close in Greetland and set fire to the vehicle.

Miss Pearce said other neighbours came out to move their cars away from the vehicle which was burnt out in the attack.

Smith interfered with another vehicle on the same street before embarking on a spree of criminal damage offences against cars in Featherbed Close and Hullen Edge Gardens, Elland.

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The court heard that various cars including a Renault Twingo, a Hyundai, a VW Passat and a VW Golf had their tyres punctured.

Smith also used the knife he was carrying to hack at a Ring doorbell at one home damaging it beyond repair and he also damaged two ceramic plant pots and a window pane.

Some of Smith’s activities were caught on CCTV and when he was interviewed by police a few weeks late he answered “no comment” to all questions.

While on bail Smith went on to commit two burglaries in Halifax and Wakefield in October and November 2023.

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During the Halifax offence he stole keys to a Range Rover while the occupants of the house were asleep in the early hours and the vehicle was later found abandoned in a supermarket car park.

Smith, who had previous burglary convictions when he was a teenager, eventually pleaded guilty to a catalogue of offences including arson, possession of a knife, criminal damage, vehicle interference, burglary and theft.

Barrister Nicola Hoskins, for Smith, said he described himself as “being in a dark place” and submitted that the arson had been a reckless offence.

But Judge Colin Burn said the offence had had quite a serious social impact with alarmed neighbours moving their vehicles to get them away from the burning car.

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“The defendant would wish the court to know that he is deeply remorseful for his behaviour,” said Miss Hoskins.

“He has out his hands up to absolutely everything and he can see how people would be affected by his behaviour.”

The court heard that Smith had suffered with mental health issues and had not been taking his prescribed medication at the time of his offending.

Miss Hoskins said her client had very little recollection of the arson and when he saw the CCTV footage he said it was him but he couldn’t believe he had done it.

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Judge Burn said he had to sentence Smith for a very large number of offences and the vast majority caused upset, distress and inconvenience to the people on the receiving end of them.

The judge noted that all of the complainants were unknown to Smith and that his use of alcohol and drugs had had a very serious effect in his behaviour.

“There is no doubt that that was certainly what was going on the 2nd of August when you went on the rampage really. There is no other word that can properly be used,” said the judge.

The judge accepted that the arson had not been pre-planned and it was not a revenge attack.

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“This was just a random attack but there is no doubt you intended to set fire to the car,” he told Smith.

Smith was jailed for a total of 27 months for his offending on August 2, 2023, but the judge added a further 24 months for the burglary offences and vehicle interference matters he went on to commit in October and November.