Jail for burglars who raided family homes and stole expensive cars

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A judge has jailed two burglars who travelled over the Pennines to carry out a spate of day-time break-ins at family homes in Calderdale.

Otis Kirkland, 30, and his accomplice 24-year-old Nicholas Cooper were each given two-and-a-half year sentences after they admitted involvement in a conspiracy to burgle several homes in April and May 2015.

Kirkland, of Milnrow, accepted that he had been involved in six break-ins at houses in Ripponden, Todmorden and Barkisland while Rochdale man Cooper carried out five of the burglaries.

Cooper was sentenced by Recorder David Wilby QC to an additional two-and-a-half years in prison for a further burglary committed in Manchester in November 2015 while he was already on bail.

Bradford Crown Court heard on Wednesday how unoccupied homes were targeted by the men and on three occasions keys to valuable vehicles were stolen along with other property including jewellery, cash and electrical items.

The court heard that a £25,000 Mercedes had never been recovered after it was stolen by Kirkland, but an attempt to steal a newly-purchased VW Golf worth up £40,000 was thwarted when the owner chased after Kirkland on foot as he tried to drive off in the vehicle.

Prosecutor David McGonigal described how the car, which was taken from outside a house in Todmorden, was driven through a drystone wall and into a field as Kirkland tried to escape, but the badly damaged vehicle was eventually abandoned after it struck a tree.

The VW Golf suffered damage costing £23,000 and its owner Gary Barker described in his victim impact statement how the burglary had had a massive impact on his family.

He described the house as being “ransacked” by the intruders.

The court heard that the burglars had used a “cloned” car, bearing false registration plates for some of the raids, and during an attack on another family home in Todmorden they threw bricks at CCTV cameras and used equipment to steal a safe which had been bolted to a concrete floor.

A third defendant Antonio Fragale, 38, from Oldham, was jailed for 15 months after admitted a related offence of conspiracy to steal.

He had given Kirkland a lift on the two occasions when he was stealing the Mercedes and the VW Golf.

Jailing the men Recorder Wilby said: “On any view this is serious criminal offending and each of you has had a role in that dishonesty”.

He said the offending had been pre-planned and the only purpose was to obtain valuable property with a financial motive.

Recorder Wilby said the burglars had deliberately targeted unoccupied properties and homes had been systematically searched by the intruders.