Bradford Telegraph and ArgusDrug addict burglar jailed for five years (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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Drug addict burglar jailed for five years

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Darren Whitford Darren Whitford

A prolific burglar who attacked two homes on the same night has been jailed for five years.

A court heard yesterday how cocaine and heroin addict Darren Whitford wasn’t put off committing the second break-in even after he had been involved in a confrontation with the occupants at the first property.

Prosecutor Richard Davies told Bradford Crown Court that both burglaries took place in Baildon in the early hours of May 14 and the first break-in occurred at the home of a pregnant woman and her partner in Rockcliffe Avenue.

The court heard how the couple went downstairs to investigate noises at their home and noticed that the wall-mounted television was on the floor.

Mr Davies said when a light was switched on they saw Whitford hiding behind a dining chair and told him to get out of their home.

“Both victims were shocked and stunned what had gone on,” said Mr Davies.

It was discovered later that bank cards and about £5 in cash had been stolen but just a few hours later Whitford attacked another home on Cliffe Lane.

Again the couple who lived there were woken by noises and when they went downstairs they saw that a rear door had been forced.

Mr Davies said they saw a suspect running across the rear garden and discovered that a handbag containing a bracelet and cash had been stolen.

Whitford, 40, of Southcliffe Way, Baildon, was arrested within half an hour of the second break-in and the handbag and bank cards were recovered.

He failed to cooperate with a drugs test following his arrest and his lawyer Arshad Mahmood told the court that Whitford struggled to recall the offences because of the cocktail of drugs and alcohol he had taken.

Whitford, who appeared at court via a video link to HMP Leeds, pleaded guilty to the two burglary charges and an offence of failing to comply with the drugs test.

Mr Davies outlined details of a series of previous convictions which included various burglary offences and Judge Jonathan Rose was told that Whitford qualified as a so-called third-strike burglar.

Mr Mahmood said Whitford had made genuine attempts to rid himself of his habit following his release from his last prison sentence and he was sorry for the trouble he had caused both sets of householders.

Judge Rose said he was but one in a long line of judges who had had to deal with Whitford for offences going back many years.

He told the defendant that burglary offences were serious because they involved not only the theft of property, but also the intrusion into people’s homes and the risk of confrontation.

“These are particularly serious offences of their type,” he told Whitford.

“In each case the property was occupied. It was the early hours of the morning when of course all decent people are entitled to feel safe and secure in their own homes.”

Judge Rose noted that the confrontation in the property had not scared off Whitford from carrying out the second offence and said he had clearly planned to go out burgling that night.

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