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Burglar, 16, is locked up after wrecking home
7:00am Saturday 2nd February 2013 in News
Housebreaking was branded “a wicked crime” by a Bradford judge who locked up a 16-year-old boy for wrecking and despoiling a retired teacher’s home.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said yesterday that Bradford suffered far more than other areas from persistent house burglars.
“It is a wicked crime. It causes great, long-lasting distress. It scars people,” the judge said.
He told the teenager, from the Lidget Green area of Bradford, to listen to the victim impact statement from one of his victims, a retired teacher who was away visiting a 94-year-old relative when the burglars struck.
In her statement read to the court, the woman, from Thornton View Road, Bradford, labelled the housebreakers “malicious and vicious.” They smashed a window to break in while she and her husband were away for a few days in October last year.
The victim said it took a week to clear up her home after the intruders scratched obscene graffiti on the walls, ransacked all the rooms and deliberately spilled milk, bleach and alcohol on kitchen appliances.
The burglars smashed the windows on her vehicle and ripped out wiring.
They made off with £1,200 worth of property, including irreplaceable jewellery from the woman’s late sister, and caused £2,000 damage.
The victim said she and her husband now had “a siege mentality,” fearing to leave their home. She suffered anxiety, depression and sleeplessness.
The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, pleaded guilty to burgling the house and another home, at Old Road, Horton Bank Top, Bradford, at about the same time.
He and two others were caught on CCTV with molegrips. Blood at the house had a DNA link to the 16-year-old.
He and his accomplices got away with gold earrings and a cigarette lighter from the property in the overnight raid while the householders slept upstairs.
The boy’s barrister, Nigel Hamilton, said he was led on by a much older man. He had been using drugs and drinking alcohol at the time.
Judge Durham Hall said it would be “outrageous” not to lock the teenager up.
He sentenced him to detention and training for 18 months. He will serve half the order in custody and the rest on intense supervision.
Last week, the Telegraph & Argus reported that a quarter of the country’s 20 worst postcode hotspots for home burglary insurance claims were in the Bradford area and that domestic burglary rates in West Yorkshire remained above the national average.