Bungling burglar caught on camera after switching lights on during break-in

SPOTLIGHT: The CCTV captured by cameras at Parkside Community Centre.

SPOTLIGHT: The CCTV captured by cameras at Parkside Community Centre.

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Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

A BUNGLING burglar, who ransacked a community centre in Bradford, was caught on camera when he switched on the lights.

The intruder illuminated himself in full colour CCTV images after breaking into Parkside Community Centre, in Avenue Road, West Bowling.

He left empty-handed after trying to force open a filing cabinet with his bare hands and kicking open a cupboard - both of which had nothing in them.

But the young burglar left behind a trail of damage which is costing the centre hundreds of pounds to repair.

Norman Kirk, the centre's treasurer, said the CCTV captured the raider throwing stones through a window to break into the building. As the alarm goes off he tries to get into the metal filing cabinet.

Mr Kirk said: "He was kind enough to put the lights on, which changed the CCTV from black and white to colour. His face was in full view of the camera. He wasn't the most proficient of burglars."

But Mr Kirk said it was no laughing matter for the people running and using the community centre.

He said: "He has cost us £500 to £600 in three minutes. It is a big blow to us. We will have to spend money on repairs which could have been used for running the centre.

"There is nothing of value in the centre to steal. It is just very upsetting and very costly for us. I just hope someone recognises the burglar and identifies him."

The break in happened at around midnight on Sunday/Monday. The intruder used a bicycle to approach and leave the premises.

The community centre is used for residents' meetings, youth and elderly groups, parties and even amateur dramatics.

One resident who uses the community centre said: "It's awful. They all work really hard there and money is hard to come by as it is."

Residents also reported that a Bradford Council sports changing rooms building in Avenue Road had been broken into at the weekend and there had been a break in at Bowling Park Primary School in the early hours of Monday.

Sergeant Jon Best said: "We are investigating two separate crimes that happened late on Monday night.

"The first incident was an attempted burglary of an educational establishment on Newcross Street. It happened at 11.46pm. Enquiries are continuing into this incident.

"The second incident happened a short time later at a community centre on Avenue Road between 11.50pm and 11.54pm. This was a burglary. Nothing was taken during the incident but damage was caused."

Sgt Best said the crimes could be linked, given how close the buildings are.

Any witnesses are asked to call police on 101.

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