Burglars jailed over ‘campaign’ of offences across Leeds and Wakefield

Luke Watson and Michael Swanson.
Luke Watson and Michael Swanson.

Two prolific offenders have been jailed for their involvement in a burglary conspiracy worth almost £300,000 in which 18 homes across Leeds were targeted.

Michael Sawnson and Luke Watson were handed lengthy prison sentences after a court heard they broke into homes in the dead of night in order to steal keys to high powered vehicles.

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, told the men: “Burglary is a plague on people’s lives. The offences that you two committed have an impact of the whole community.

Nicoleta Alistari, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court how the pair targeted a total of 18 homes in Leeds, two in Wakefield and one in Pontefact over a six week period in July and August last year. Cars were stolen and were then fitted with false number plates. Some of the vehicles were then used to commit further crimes. CCTV footage from two of the offences showed Watson, 25, snapping the door lock while Swanson, also aged 25, kept lookout. The total value of property stolen in the burglaries was £297,015. Miss Alistari said: “It was a campaign of burglary.” At the time of the offices, Swanson was on police bail for taking cannabis and a class C drug in to an inmate at HMP Wealstun. Watson had recently been released from prison on licence.

Both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. Sawnson was jailed for seven years, seven months, and Watson for six years.

After the case, Det Insp Steve Greenbank, who led the investigation, said: “Swanson and Watson are prolific offenders who were responsible for a large number of burglaries over a relatively short period of time.

“Behind every one of those crimes are victims who have suffered the indignity of having their family homes invaded - the majority while they slept at night – as well as the financial loss and inconvenience of having their cars and other valuables stolen.

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