A “professional burglar” caught crawling up the steps to a house in broad daylight in a bid to break into the property has been jailed for three years.

John Trotter had a string of housebreaking offences on his record and had been recalled to prison until December 2023 after being locked up for ten years in 2014 for a conspiracy to burgle homes in West Yorkshire.

Trotter, 31, now of no fixed abode and formerly of Holme Wood, pleaded guilty to attempting to burgle a house in Bradford Road in the village on May 22.

He was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court today on a video link to HMP Leeds.

Prosecutor Christopher Styles said a neighbour saw a group of three males behaving suspiciously in Bradford Road.

They were walking up and down the street examining the properties.

Trotter, who was dressed in black with his hood up, and wearing black gloves, crawled up the steps to the targeted house and was reaching up to the door handle when the neighbour shouted: “Sneak-in burglary.”

The males were caught on CCTV fleeing the scene but Trotter “categorically denied” the attempted break-in, even after the neighbour had picked him out on a video identity parade.

He was prepared to run a trial with the defence of mistaken identity but then changed his mind, Mr Styles said.

The house Trotter tried to burgle belonged to a woman social worker who was at home at the time.

She saw and heard nothing until she was alerted by the neighbour.

Trotter had a “serious and extensive” criminal record, the court was told.

Hie record included 20 offences of dishonesty, including the conspiracy to burgle.

He was jailed for ten years in December 2014 but the sentence was later reduced on appeal, the court heard.

Mr Styles said Trotter was at that time a member of an organised gang that burgled homes in the Bradford area, as well as in neighbouring Calderdale and Huddersfield.

Leeds Crown Court heard that cars valued at almost £200,000 were stolen in a few weeks during 12 professional burglaries.

Trotter was described by Judge Geoffrey Marson QC as a “leading light” in the plot.

He had been recalled to prison because he was on licence for the conspiracy.

Trotter’s barrister, Shufqat Khan, said he did not succeed in breaking into the house.

He pointed out that his parole date could be affected by the new sentence.

Judge Colin Burn said this was the latest in a long record of burglaries and attempted burglaries committed by Trotter.

He was an “inveterate burglar” who had gone out dressed in dark clothing and gloves in a bid to target a house in broad daylight.