'Mean and nasty' Leeds thief sent back to prison after stealing from the home of a family friend

A career criminal has been returned to prison after he stole cash and bank cards from the home of a family friend while out of jail on licence.

By Tony Gardner
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 4:45 am

Ryan Woodhead has long criminal record for targeting elderly and vulnerable victims in south Leeds,The 30-year-old carried out his latest offence at the home of a 59-year-old man on Recreation Mount, Holbeck, on July 25 this year

Jessica Randell, prosecuting, said the victim is the friend of Woodhead's father and was described as a "shy and kind-hearted man".

The defendant went to his home and asked to use his phone to call a taxi.

Leeds Crown Court

Woodhead then left in the taxi but there was a knock on the victim's door a short time later.

Ms Randell said the victim answered the door to a man who claimed to have been the taxi driver.

He told the victim that Woodhead had not paid the £38 fare for his journey and demanded cash.

The victim became suspicious and refused to pay as he did not believe him to have been the driver.

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Woodhead then appeared and told the victim to give the man some money.

The victim refused again and rang Woodhead's father.

Woodhead pushed his way into the house and took the victim's jacket, which contained £50 in cash and bank cards.

The man who claimed to be the taxi driver apologised and left the area.

Woodhead, of Queenshill Drive, Moortown was arrested and pleaded guilty to theft.

The court heard he has a long history of committing fraud and theft offences.

He was jailed in 20017 over a "campaign of fraud" targeting elderly victims.

Woodhead claimed to be a milkman and a window cleaner as he attempted to trick vulnerable pensioners into parting with cash.

He also preyed on the emotions of other victims by lying to them that his grandfather had been taken ill.

Woodhead had previously been jailed in 2014 for similar "mean and wicked" offences against the elderly.

He targeted vulnerable care home residents in the Beeston and Holbeck areas of Leeds.

One victim was conned into handing over cash after he was told he had won a raffle prize.

Woodhead also claimed to be a police officer when he preyed on a 79-year-old man who had previously been the victim of a burglary.

Stephen Smithson, mitigating, said Woodhead's offending is linked to a long-standing addiction to drugs.

Woodhead was jailed for four and a half months.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl QC said: "Drugs are the route of all your problems.

"This was a nasty and mean offence against someone you knew and you should know better."