Leeds burglar proves himself a very bad neighbour

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A man who burgled his neighbours’ home while they were away on holiday has been jailed for 16 months.

The victim and her two children discovered the break-in at the address in Parkstone Grove, Ireland Wood, Leeds when they returned from their trip on July 20.

Rupert Doswell, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that a side door had been forced open with a brick causing extensive damage. Inside, a large amount of electrical items and jewellery – worth a total of £5,000 – had been taken. A bloodstain was discovered on the door and positively matched Naeem Qureshi, 38, who lived in the same street.

When police attended his home, they discovered some of the electrical items which had been stolen, and also an Xbox and other items in his shed which had been stolen from a different house in the same street.

Mr Doswell said Qureshi had CCTV at his property covering the shed and part of the street. When it was checked, it was found to have been erased only twice in the year, on the dates he was likely to have carried the stolen items. When interviewed he denied responsibility, and claimed the blood on the door must have got there from a tissue he had dropped in the street, which had then blown across the road.

The court heard none of the jewellery, worth £2,500, was recovered. The burglary victim said she had suffered sleepless nights following the discovery, and her two children were particularly distressed knowing the burglar lived nearby, and they had chosen to spend more time at their grandparents’ as a result.

Robert Stevenson, for Qureshi, said he had never committed burglary before and the behaviour was totally out of character for him. “He is thoroughly ashamed of his actions,” he said.

Qureshi admitted burglary and handling property stolen from another house.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “You caused a lot of damage. You also took steps to delete the CCTV which would have showed your movements.”

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