Long stretch behind bars for Leeds pair with links to ‘Hanoi’ car theft gang

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TWO Leeds men connected to a ‘Hanoi’ style conspiracy to burgle 13 homes and steal high value cars have been jailed for almost ten years.

Leeds Crown Court heard cars stolen included an Alfa Romeo Spider, Jaguar XF, a Mercedes and Audis and BMWs after keys were taken during burglaries at houses in Horsforth, Middleton, Moortown, Bramley, Halifax, Huddersfield, Shipley, North Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The cars’ identities were disguised using false or stolen number plates.

Many of the burglaries between March and May this year happened during the early hours while homeowners were asleep.

Prosecutor, Timothy Capstick said one burglary victim was struck and injured by the Nissan Navara the gang were stealing from a house in Huddersfield after another member of the household had struggled with the driver, who crashed the car.

The gang’s ringleader Terence Honey, 28, of Nowells Close, Harehills was jailed for six years and three months and banned from driving for three years.

The court heard a VW Passatt was stolen from an address in Middleton, Leeds, on April 25 and the following day Honey crashed the Passatt into a bus shelter on Vicker Lane.

Police found Honey drunk and asleep at the wheel following the crash.

It happened shortly after Honey had assaulted an elderly member of staff at the Sportsman pub in Burmantofts and damaged the bar because he was angry at having to wait to be served a drink.

Honey admitted conspiracy to burgle, criminal damage, common assault, using threatening words and behaviour and failing to provide a breath specimen.

A second gang member, James Rance, 29, of Poplar Mount, Bramley, admitted conspiracy to burgle.

Prosecutors accepted his account of only being connected to two burglaries in May.

Rance was jailed for three-years-and-seven months.

The court heard on May 9, a member of the public photographed a group changing number plates on a BMW and a Jaguar in the car park of the Miner’s Arms pub in Morley.

Anthony Higgins, 25, of Newlands, Drive Morley, had driven both of the stolen vehicles.

Higgins, who admitted two charges of handling stolen goods, was jailed for 20 months and two weeks.

Tariq Akram, 35, of Gainsborough Avenue, Cookridge, was caught in possession of a key to a stolen Audi.

Akram, who admitted handling stolen goods, was handed a 15-month jail sentence suspended for two years plus a 12 month supervision order.

The court heard Emma Sayers, 30, of Poplar Mount, Bramley was infatuated with married Terence Honey and was a passenger in a number of the stolen vehicles. Sayers, who admitted handling stolen goods and aggravated vehicle taking, was sentenced to a 12 month community order and was banned from driving for two years.

Sentencing ringleader Terence Honey, Judge Rodney Jameson QC told him: “This was a full role in a very serious conspiracy to commit offences house burglaries on a professional basis for commercial gain.”

Nick Worsley, mitigating for Honey, said: “He was not involved in any burglaries where confrontations took place.” Mr Worsley said when Honey is not behind bars he is a “good family man.”

Arshad Mahmood for James Rance, said he had a drink problem at the time of the offences.

Mr Mahmood added: “He was desperate, he had no income and nowhere to stay.”

Catherine Silverton for Tariq Akram, said: “No profit was either made or anticipated.”

Simon Clegg for Anthony Higgins said: “He played a minor role.”

Jayne Dodson, mitigating for mother-of-two Emma Sayers, said: “She was in a relationship which turned her head. She bitterly regrets her behaviour. She is very remorseful.”

After the sentencing hearing, Det Insp Paul Strafford, of Leeds district crime team, said: “Honey was the ringleader of a large-scale burglary conspiracy that impacted on the lives of a number of people, many of whom were traumatised and some physically injured during the incidents.

“His imprisonment is excellent news for our communities as if he had remained at large I have no doubt that he would be continuing to commit crimes.”