Burglar with over 40 break-ins on his record entered two Wakefield homes minutes apart

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A burglar with more than 40 break-ins on his record targeted two homes within minutes during broad daylight to steal jewellery and watches.

Stephen Padley broke into one home on Wentworth Street in Wakefield, but after being confronted by the occupant, fled and forced his way into another home on College Grove Road where he ransacked the bedroom and stole an elderly couple’s valuables.

Leeds Crown Court heard it was the third time he had reached the third-strike rule, meaning a mandatory three-year sentence at least must be imposed. He was given credit for his early guilty pleas, and was handed the three-year term by the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl KC.

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Prosecutor Bashir Ahmed said a male occupant of the house on Wentworth Street was in bed shortly before noon on September 1 last year when he heard the dog barking and then the bathroom door open. He got up to check and found the defendant on the landing, who then asked him: “Where is your mum?”

Padley has move than 40 break-ins on his record.Padley has move than 40 break-ins on his record.
Padley has move than 40 break-ins on his record.

The male told 39-year-old Padley to get out and he fled out of the back door, followed by the male who took a photo of him. Padley then told him: “I have got the wrong house.”

Then at 12.05pm he was caught on a doorbell camera at the property on College Grove Road while the couple were out shopping. He conducted an untidy search of their bedroom, taking three rings, two watches and £250 in cash.

He was recognised from the camera footage and police quickly arrested him. The watches were recovered but the cash and the rings were not found. One had “severe sentimental value” and was the wedding of the elderly woman’s father.

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Padley has 16 convictions for 47 offences, 44 of which are for burglary. Mitigating, Matthew Harding said Padley’s father had been an alcoholic drug user who would order him to help in committing crimes as a youngster. He said that Padley himself then fell into drugs.

He said: “Heroin and crack cocaine have blighted his life. It’s a familiar pattern of those who are addicted to drugs. These offences are opportunistic and largely unsophisticated. Detection was almost inevitable.”

He said Padley, who had been living at Marsh Way House hostel for the homeless in Wakefield, was now on a methadone prescription.