A NIGHT-TIME housebreaker who led the police on a blue light chase in a Smart car taken in the £50,000 burglary has been jailed for four years.

Darren Fellows was caught with stolen property on him after he crashed the small vehicle into a lamppost during a three-minute pursuit across the centre of Bradford.

Fellows, 38, of Braybrook Court, Manningham, Bradford, had 57 previous convictions for 144 offences, Bradford Crown Court heard on Monday.

He was on drugs, on licence and on a community order when he and his accomplices struck at the address in Heaton, Bradford, at dead of night on January 29.

The group fled with a Ford Mondeo, the Smart car and property including five laptop computers, a £10,000 mountain bike, clothing, sunglasses, a camera and binoculars.

Prosecutor Jessica Randell told the court that the burglars were later caught on CCTV unloading carrier bags of stolen items into a garage.

The householders were unaware of the break-in until 5am when they saw a damaged kitchen window and realised that £50,000 of their property, including their cars, was missing.

Miss Randell said the Mondeo had a tracker fitted to it and at 11am the same day, the police spotted it driving in convoy with the Smart car.

Fellows, who was driving the Smart car, made off along White Abbey Road and Sunbridge Road. He drove at 40mph in a 20 zone before hitting a lamppost on Crown Street.

He was chased on foot and caught in the city centre with a stolen phone, camera and binoculars on him.

Fellows’ previous convictions included offences of house burglary, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

He pleaded guilty on the day of his trial to burglary, theft of the Smart car, dangerous driving and driving while uninsured and disqualified.

Fellow’s barrister, David Hall, said it was “a mercifully brief chase” in the Smart car.

Fellows, who was a heroin addict, had been in custody for five months and had made great strides in that time. He was off drugs and a healthcare representative for his fellow inmates.

“He regrets the enormous disruption to the victims in this case,” Mr Hall said.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, labelled it: “An extremely nasty and disgraceful burglary,” that had deeply affected the householders.

“They had worked hard to amass a number of expensive and hard-earned assets which only excite the envy of those whose contribution to society is zero.

“They were gutted and will be scarred, outraged and unsettled by far longer than the sentence the paltry guidelines allow me to impose,” Judge Durham Hall said.

He banned Fellows from driving for five years.