A career burglar was told he was a “principal reason” why Leeds was one of the country’s worst blackspots for house break-ins as he was jailed for his latest offence.
Jason Higo, 44, was jailed for four years yesterday after making his 13th appearance in court for house burglary.
Higo and his accomplice, Stephen O’Leary, used a screwdriver to break into a basement flat on St Michael’s, Headingley, on December 14 to steal items to order.
They then returned to the same property later that evening to take more valuables but were disturbed by the owner.
Jailing Higo, Judge Christopher Batty said Leeds was “very near the top of the tree” for house break-ins.
He told Higo: “Leeds has got a very significant problem – very significant indeed. It is high in the league tables for dwelling house burglaries and, Jason Higo, you are a principal reason why it is up there, looking at your record.
“It is what you do. It wasn’t even for drugs. It was not someone desperate to feel normal as drug addicts often are.
“This was simply for financial gain. You had already got your buyers sorted out on your phone as you went out on your night’s grafting.”
Michael Smith, prosecuting, said the owner of the flat returned to the property to find the window to the basement flat had been damaged. She stood outside and contacted police who arrived to find the men coming out of an alleyway with a rucksack which contained stolen property.
Higo’s fingerprint was found on a laptop stolen in the break-in and his mobile phone contained a message stating he had a camera for sale.
Both men pleaded guilty to burglary. The court heard Higo, of no fixed address, has a total of 72 convictions for 30 offences. O’Leary, of Cumberland Court, Burley, has 52 convictions for 32 previous offences. He was jailed for 18 months.
The judge told O’Leary: “It is right to say that you were the hapless idiot who got yourself roped in by him (Higo).
“Had you only gone the once you could’ve gone home today but you didn’t. You went back knowing that someone was going to lose even more of their hard-earned possessions.”
Michael Marshall, for Higo, said his client had pleaded guilty to the offence at the earliest opportunity and accepted he would be going to prison. He added: “There is very little else I can add.”
Richard Sutcliffe, for O’Leary, said his client was ashamed of his actions.