Leeds burglary gang caught red-handed during 3,000 cigarette raid at shop

Partick Whelan and Gareth Hayes.
Partick Whelan and Gareth Hayes.

A gang of burglars were caught moments after they carried out a night time raid at a newsagents and stole £3,000 worth of cigarettes.

A court heard four men from Leeds targeted the One Stop Shop in Durkar, Wakefield, in the early hours of May 19 this year.

A local resident called police after seeing them force roller shutters to get into the business premises. The gang members ran off after police arrived within minutes. One officer chased Patrick Whelan as he fled with a duvet cover filled with stolen cigarettes.

He also dropped a pick axe as he ran away but was caught by the officer.

The officer was assaulted during the struggle, suffering scratches to his face.

Another officer managed to detain James McPherson close to the shop. Two other men, Blake Scruton and Gareth Hayes, were found hiding in gardens after a police dog was used to help find them. Leeds Crown Court heard Whelan and Scruton also carried out a burglary at another One Stop Shop, a fortnight earlier, on High Street, Crigglestone. On that occasion they managed to steal £3,000 worth of cigarettes.

Whelan, 32, of Belle Isle Close, Belle Isle, was jailed for 30 months, and Hayes, 35, of Royal Court Hunslet, was jailed for 20 months.

McPherson, 47, Cemetery Road, Beeston, was given a 16 month sentence, suspended for two years, and made the subject of a four-month curfew.

Scruton, 21, of Windmill Road, Belle Isle, was given 21 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.