A man has been jailed for ten months for raiding the home of a retired police officer and making off with priceless mementos of his service in the force.

Thomas Saville was one of a gang who threw a brick through the window at the address in Cottingley and made an untidy search on March 27 this year, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

The intruders escaped with hundreds of pounds worth of jewellery, clothing and the irreplaceable memorabilia, including a Queen’s Jubilee Medal, a commemorative glass bowl and a miniature police helmet presented to the officer on his retirement.

Saville, 25, of Elm Grove, Keighley, pleaded guilty to burglary, fraudulent use of a bank card stolen in a housebreaking in Halifax on February 23 and dishonestly receiving a bank card.

His plea of not guilty to the burglary in Park Terrace, Halifax, in which numerous items of jewellery were stolen, was accepted by the Crown on the day he was to stand trial.

Prosecutor Heather Gilmore told the court that Saville was caught using the stolen bank card at Tesco in Buttershaw, Bradford, and at a petrol station on the city’s Cleckheaton Road.

The burglars were captured on CCTV burgling the Cottingley address and Saville, who has a lengthy list of previous convictions, was recognised by police officers.

Miss Gilmore said the gang rifled through bedroom drawers at the unoccupied home.

The retired officer, who had been burgled 18 months previously, was extremely upset that irreplaceable items had been stolen and never recovered.

He felt he was being targeted and he wanted to move house, although there was no suggestion that Saville was involved in the previous break-in, Miss Gilmore said.

He was arrested the following month and made no comment when he was interviewed.

Saville’s criminal record included one house burglary when he was aged 11.

His other convictions were for theft, battery, arson, harassment, criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon and handling stolen goods.

Saville’s barrister, Stephen Wood, said he was not a career burglar. His last conviction for breaking into a home was when he was a child.

The fact that the burglars threw a brick through the house window meant that they were not equipped with tools for breaking into homes.

“He was a follower and not a leader in the group,” Mr Wood said.

Recorder Jeremy Hill-Baker said that Saville had burgled the home of a retired police officer and stolen items of great sentimental value.

But Saville had not deliberately targeted the address and his last conviction for house burglary was many years ago.