Tagged burglar caught on camera

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A career criminal was wearing an electronically monitored tag as he was caught on camera trying to break into a house, a court heard.

Andrew Stewart was unaware he was being filmed by security cameras when he targeted the property on Hill Road, Castleford, on April 18 this year.

Stewart, 32, took a kitchen knife from a caravan outside the property before spending ten minutes trying to force open patio doors.

The owner of the property, who was not in at the time, was made aware of the ongoing burglary attempt after receiving an e-mail and was able to access the footage.

Stewart eventually gave up his attempt and left.

Stewart was recognised on the footage and arrested two days later.

He denied the offence and told officers he could not have done it as he was on a tag.

Checks were then made about his movements while wearing the tag.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said: “The tag showed that he had been at the scene of the burglary when it happened.” Stewart, of Pontefract Road, Featherstone, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary.

The court heard Stewart has 26 previous convictions, including 12 for burglary.

Zaiban Alam, mitigating, said Stewart had been addicted to heroin since he was 11-years-old.

She said: “He has spent most of the last 17 years in prison and he is the face of institutionalisation.”

Miss Alam said Stewart had been turning his life around after finding a girlfriend and they were expecting a child.

The lawyer explained that Stewart had volunteered to be electronically tagged as he was determined to stop committing offences.

She added: “He wanted to demonstrate to all concerned that he could turn his life around and that he was capable of it.”

Stewart was jailed for 12 months.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier, QC, said: “The account of your life that I have just heard is a very sad one.”