A PROLIFIC burglar responsible for more than £100,000 of crime in West and North Yorkshire has been has jailed for five years.
Steven Paul Garner struck at homes from Whitby to Halifax and Cleckheaton to Malton during the last six years, with items stolen including valuable jewellery, irreplaceable photographs and medals.
Michael Smith, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court Steven Paul Garner went out with police pointing out properties he had raided, as part of the “clean slate” policy after he was arrested earlier this year.
Garner, 37 of Daleside Walk, West Bowling, Bradford, admitted three offences of burglary and asked for 71 other offences - including 45 burglaries and 19 attempted house burglaries - to be taken into consideration, including offences in Shipley and Bradford.
Mr Smith told the court on February 12 this year Garner broke into a house in Flaxton, York, while the occupiers were out at lunch.
After forcing the French window with a garden fork he stole £10,000 worth of property including a laptop, bank cards, a phone and a car parked outside, which was later recovered in Bradford.
He was traced through DNA but overnight on April 27 to 28, he had entered a house in Whitechapel Road, Cleckheaton, by removing a toilet window.
The householder was asleep upstairs and only became aware of the burglary the following morning when he discovered £2,000 worth of property missing including clothing and his work computer which involved a further £4,000 loss of business.
Mr Smith told the court one of the biggest losses on the schedule taken into consideration involved a burglary at a house in Pembroke Way, Whitby, when £30,000 in property was stolen, much of a sentimental nature.
Some of the items belonged to deceased relatives of the occupant and included photographs of the householder’s parents.
The victim of that burglary said: “The main pain to me is that all my precious memories have been taken away from me.”
Anne-Marie Hutton for Garner said he felt genuine remorse for his actions which was why he had tried to help the police.
“He accepts the extreme misery he has brought into the lives of these individuals by his offending," she added.
Sentencing, Garner Judge Christopher Batty said the three burglaries he admitted were only the tip of the iceberg of his offending and while he would receive credit for the significant assistance to the police clearing up crimes, it was clear he had been burgling homes regularly since 2008.
The offences all over North and West Yorkshire indicated he was a travelling burglar prepared to enter homes “and clear them of as much as you possibly could.”
That included items of sentimental and irreplaceable value with the traumatic effect such crime had on those who returned to find their homes invaded.
“People are entitled to feel safe and secure in their own home. They are entitled to believe the items they collect or purchase after their hard work will remain safe and secure.
"When their homes are violated by people like you they feel insecure," the judge said.