Man who wore the same clothes to a string of Roundhay thefts is foiled by "distinctive" disguise
Kenneth Smith, 39, pleaded guilty to seven offences at a pre-trial review last month after initially denying it.
However, he was seen on CCTV wearing the same clothing at each of the offences. The "distinctive" clothing was was later found during a police search of his house, which also uncovered a missing doctor’s stethoscope and an NHS prescription pad.
Leeds Crown Court heard on Friday that in the early hours of February 6, Smith was seen on CCTV checking the front door of the Soosi restaurant on Roundhay Road and had attempted to disguise his appearance with a head and face mask. He went away and returned shortly after and used a screwdriver to prise open the door panel, creating a big enough gap to climb through.
Once inside the restaurant he searched it with a torch and took around £50 worth of euros and some £2 coins from the till as well as having caused £400 worth of damage to the door.
At 11pm on March 2 he returned to the same restaurant and drilled a hole in the back fire door so he could put his hand in and open it from. The owner of the restaurant had upgraded his CCTV following the first incident and changed his practices so there was only £3 in the till but £300 worth of damage was done to the fire door. CCTV showed Smith wearing the same clothes as before.
A few days later on March 6 and just after 4am, Smith made several attempts to break into Pizza Express on Street Lane, Roundhay but kept getting disturbed. Despite leaving empty handed he had caused more than £1,000 worth of damage and was again said to be wearing the same distinctive disguise as the previous two break-ins.
The prosecution then say he smashed the window of a parked car, stole a wallet and used the bank cards in it to make two contactless payments to the tune of £14 and also £29.
Police went to Smith's address at Edgeware Mount, Harehills and arrested him. They found the masks and a stethoscope and NHS prescription pad that were in a doctor's bag that had been stolen from an Audi on March 4. There were also prescription drugs in it which were not recovered.
Victoria Smith-Swaine who was mitigating at Friday's hearing said that Smith, who has 39 convictions for 144 offences dating back to 1991, committed the offences to fund his drug habit.
She said: "He is on methadone and working with the prison service to reduce that. He recognised that he needs to think very carefully about his offending history and what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He realises that it is his drug offending that causes most of his offending and hopes that this period of custody will allow him to work to reduce that and that upon his release he will not be on methadone at all."
Judge Jameson QC handed Smith a two year jail term with sentences for the seven counts all running concurrent.
He added: "You are 39 and have a totally awful record and don't need me to tell you that. It is brought about by your drug addiction and it is very much to be hoped that you can address that, otherwise the future is pretty bleak."