Bogus workman jailed for helping gang steal £3,500 worth of Yorkshire stone stripped from patio of house in Rothwell

A thief has been jailed after he helped a gang of bogus workmen strip Yorkshire stone from the patio of a house in Leeds.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 6:00 am

Stephen Broadbent was jailed for eight months after a court heard how "organised and sophisticated" criminals targeted the property in Rothwell while the homeowner was at the gym.

Leeds Crown Court heard the victim left his home on Oulton Lane locked and secured while he went out on August 17 this year.

While at the gym he received a notification on his phone that the gates to his home had been disturbed.

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Oulton Lane, Rothwell

Giles Grant, prosecuting, said a van containing three men reversed onto the driveway of property.

They then removed Yorkshire stone slabs from the patio and loaded them onto the vehicle.

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The victim contacted police and drove home.

Around £3,500 pounds worth of stone was taken from the property. The pick axe was left at the scene of the offence.

The court heard it is the second time the victim's home has been targeted for Yorkshire stone.

Broadbent and the other men were detained nearby in the van after a description of the offenders and the vehicle was circulated.

The stolen stone was recovered from the van.

Broadbent, 35, of Burley Road, Burley, Leeds, pleaded guilty to theft.

He has previous convictions for dishonesty offences.

Craig Sutcliffe, mitigating, said Broadbent had been struggling with his mental health while in custody.

Describing the offence, he said: "The defendant was offered the opportunity to earn £80 and thought it would be some legitimate work.

"When he arrived at the premises he was told he had to knock on the door to make sure the householder wasn't in.

"He realised then that the enterprise was not a legitimate one but went on to allow himself to do what he was doing."

Sentencing Broadbent, Judge Simon Batiste described the offence as "sophisticated".

He said: "You were in a group of three people who were heavily equipped to commit this offence.

"You had a van to transport the stones, you were wearing hi-viz jackets to appear legitimate in what you were doing and you had a pick axe."