Burglar spotted by alert neighbour

Darren Bates
Darren Bates

A burglar has been jailed for three years after he was spotted by an alert resident keeping an eye on a neighbour’s house.

Darren Lee Bates, 43, was seen moving around inside Rutland Avenue, Pontefract, on April 26 when a neighbour alerted police.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp told Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday how Bates had broken in through a window using a screwdriver and a brick and helped himself to a digital radio and was searching the house for other items worth stealing, when the police arrived.

Mr Sharp said Bates tried to make a “run for it” but was caught after a short chase and restrained by two officers because he was violent and aggressive.

The court heard Bates, of Lawrence Avenue, Love Lane, had only been out of prison a couple of weeks and told officers he was struggling financially.

Richard Canning, mitigating,said Bates had been held on remand for around three months for an offence he was found not to have been responsible for, but when he was then released it was without any probation support.

Prior to that he had been receiving Job Seekers’ Allowance and living with his partner. He was also on methadone for his drug problem.

When he was released his partner had left and he had no money.

Bates admitted the burglary and was jailed for three years.

Sentencing him, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC, said: “Burglaries cause enormous upset to householders who return to find people like you have been through their belongings and invaded their personal space within their home. It can lead to long term consequences for them.”