A “career criminal” has been jailed for 45 months after a burglary victim and his neighbour nabbed him following a brazen attack on a home in Halifax.
Third-striker burglar John Bell, 47, had been wearing a high-visibility jacket when he was out with another man in a white van looking for a property to burgle last month.
Bradford Crown Court heard today how a suspicious neighbour who was driving along Ing Head Terrace that afternoon spotted Bell walking into the garage of a house and coming out with a wheelbarrow and a wacker plate.
Prosecutor Alisha Kaye said Bell ran off and the van was driven away when the neighbour shouted out, but the householder then got into his neighbour’s car and they pursued the defendant.
Miss Kaye said the men managed to detain Bell on a nearby road and his discarded high-vis jacket was found nearby.
Bell, of no fixed abode, denied being involved in the burglary following his arrest, but today he admitted the offence which was committed just six months after his release from prison following a four-year jail term for house burglary.
Miss Kaye said the burglars had stolen two expensive adult bikes, a child’s mountain bike and two Stihl saws. The stolen property was worth more than £4,000 and she said none it had been recovered.
The teatime burglary on August 17 had left the householder feeling upset and vulnerable and Judge Jonathan Rose said the theft of the child’s bike had been a mean aspect of the offence.
“You’re a career criminal,” the judge told Bell.
“It was a very professional offence. You and your colleague, whoever that may be, had equipped yourselves with a van on cloned plates.
“That was to ensure that you could not be caught even if the van was spotted and the registration number taken.
“You had equipped yourself with a high-visibility jacket in the hope that anyone who saw you would think you were carrying out legitimate work rather than the cruel invasion of somebody’s home as you were doing.”
The judge said the lack of any mitigation for Bell demonstrated that he was nothing more than a career criminal from whom the public were entitled to be protected.