East Bowling robber faces 'significant' jail sentence

First published in Bradford

A drug addict who targets elderly people to burgle and rob has been warned by a judge he could be branded as being a serious public danger when he is jailed next month.

John Surtees is behind bars awaiting a long prison sentence for robbing a 65-year-old woman in Bradford on April 10.

He committed the crime after being released from a three and a half year jail sentence imposed in July 2010 for attempting to burgle sheltered accommodation for the elderly to feed his drug habit.

Surtees, who was brought to Bradford Crown Court yesterday in custody, pleaded guilty to robbing the pensioner of a laptop computer, her handbag, money and a kitchen knife, together valued at £530, in Woodroyd Road, East Bowling, Bradford. He knew he was going to prison for a long time, his solicitor advocate Ray Singh told the court.

Mr Singh said he was anxious to know his fate and did not want an adjournment for a probation service report. But Judge John Potter adjourned sentence until May 25 so Surtees can be assessed to see if he poses a significant risk of harm to the public.

He told Surtees, 30, of Stone Hall Road, Eccleshill, Bradford: “I believe a report should be prepared to assess whether or not you are a dangerous offender.”

Judge Potter added: “You must prepare yourself to receive a significant custodial sentence.”

Surtees’ denial of an offence of aggravated burglary on the same day was acceptable to the Crown, prosecutor Nigel Hamilton told the court.

Mr Hamilton said Surtees was a three strikes house breaker, meaning he had at least three convictions for burgling people’s home.

He was locked up in July 2010 for an attempted break-in at a sheltered accommodation complex for the elderly in Ashbourne Crescent, Queensbury.

Surtees, then living in Hillcrest Road, Queensbury, was seen by residents acting suspiciously outside the bungalows. Police found the door of one of the homes had been tampered with.

Surtees asked for nine other house burglaries, committed between November, 2007, and March, 2008, to be taken into account when he was sentenced.

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