Four-year jail term for burglars

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TWO prolific burglars who were caught red-handed ransacking the home of an 85-year-old woman have each been jailed for four years.

Ziggy Bell, 20, and Gary Brandon, 25, were arrested at the house in Allerton Bywater after a night-long crime spree on February 1.

Leeds Crown Court heard the pair broke into a house on Park Avenue, Wakefield, where they stole car keys and used the vehicle to drive ten miles to Allerton Bywater. They crashed the car on the way and it was left badly damaged.

The duo then attempted to force the door locks of two properties before going to the home of the 85-year-old.

The court heard police were called after a neighbour spotted them entering the property. Both men had managed to trash the home before being arrested in the kitchen.

They were found with a a bag of tools which included a screwdriver and a machete. The elderly woman had to be awoken by officers and told her home had been burgled.

Bell, of Glebe Street, Castleford, and Brandon, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two offences of burglary, two of attempted burglary, and theft.

After their arrest, Brandon admitted 35 further similar offences to police and they were taken into consideration by the court. Bell asked for three others to be taken into consideration.

James Littlehayles, for Brandon, said he had an “atrocious” criminal record. Matthew Harding, for Bell, said he had also been jailed previously. He added: “He regards custody as the only place where, as he puts it, he can sort his head out.”

Judge Roger Ibbotson said the offences were aggravated because they were committed at night time while the occupants were asleep.

In 2008, the Express reported how Bell was slapped with a five-year anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) forbidding him from entering an area surrounding Featherstone’s Station Lane. At the time residents complained that the sentence, for offences of burglary and stealing vehicles, was not “tough” enough.