A gang of burglars behind a string of raids at homes across Leeds and West Yorkshire have been jailed for more than 11 years.
The group from stole jewellery, cash and other goods worth more than £200,000 in a series of 11 burglaries and a robbery at addresses in Armley, Rawdon, Drighlington, Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax and Elland over four months in 2012.
They were caught as a result of an investigation dubbed Operation Axilshot which was led by officers from the Leeds District Burglary Task Force.
An investigation identified that the gang would repeatedly target one specific area before moving elsewhere in the county.
They would wear balaclavas, travel in unregistered vehicles and make efforts to avoid leaving forensic evidence at crime scenes or in the vehicles they used.
In many cases they specifically targeted Asian families to steal gold jewellery worth thousands of pounds, often confronting victims in their homes.
On one occasion three gang members in balaclavas confronted a stroke victim in his bedroom at his home in Elland.
They threatened to shoot him and “smash” his legs with his own crutches before stealing a safe containing gold.
Over three days they committed four burglaries in the Halifax area using a silver Subaru estate. That vehicle was pursued by police following one of the incidents and abandoned in Thornton, Bradford.
Detailed and comprehensive enquiries uncovered the evidence that linked the six men to the offences.This included expert analysis of some of the unique vehicles the group had used to travel around to commit the offences.
Painstaking work saw officers trace every vehicle of that type in the country to prove that the offenders’ vehicles were the only ones that could have been in those areas at the relevent times.
The men were sentenced at Teesside Crown Court for conspiracy to commit burglaries and all received custodial sentences in young offenders institutions. Michael Crosdale, 19, of Valley View, Baildon, was sentenced to 38 months; Anthony Hardisty, 21, of Palin Avenue, Bradford, received a 32 month sentence; Anthony Davey, 21, of Harrogate Road, Bradford, was given a 30 month term with concurrent six month and two month sentences for burglary; Aiden Rouse, 20, of Norman Lane, Bradford, Kane Harrison, 20, of Fencote Crescent, Bradford, and Jamie Sherlock, 20, of Tyersal Court, Bradford, were all sentenced to 12 months.