Career crook is sent to prison over burglary at Leeds motor company

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A BURGLAR who stole a van from a car firm was caught thanks to an audio recording device fitted in the vehicle.

Martin Brake, 51, took the Renault van from Evans Halshaw Body Shop, in Hunslet, after a mechanic went to the toilet and left the keys in the vehicle.

Brake caused damage to the premises as he drove off in the vehicle.

He was caught after a device was activated in the van and he was recorded making arrangements to drop the vehicle off in an Asda car park for other criminals to collect.

The van was recovered by police and Brake was arrested

Brake, of Shakespeare Grange, Burmantofts, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to burglary and driving while disqualified.

Leeds Crown Court heard he has a criminal record dating back decades. Simon Batiste, mitigating, said Brake’s offending was linked to drug abuse and he had become institutionalised due to the long periods of time he had spent in custody.

The barrister urged judge James Spencer, QC, to impose a community-based penalty as Brake was motivated to receive help to address his offending.

Judge Spencer said: “You have been back and forth to prison over the years for offences of this nature.

“All of this is a front and you are intent on continuing with your criminal lifestyle .”