Pensioner 'turned to crime' with Leeds high-rise flat burglary at the age of 67 - just to steal Nintendo console

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A pensioner who led an unblemished life was caught burgling his neighbour’s flat at the age of 67 – wanting to steal a games console.

Fred Manning used a hammer and a screwdriver to break into the property at Barncroft Towers in Seacroft, but did not realise he was on CCTV. Manning knew his neighbour had been taken into hospital and that his flat was empty, and was seen approaching the flat three times in the space of 20 minutes on October 18 last year, trying the door handle.

He then returned with the weapons and smashed a glass panel to gain entry.

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When police arrested him, they found the Nintendo Gamecube in Manning’s flat in Barncroft Towers. He admitted he broke in and took it, saying he wanted the console because it was unusual.

Manning broke into the flat at Bancroft Towers. (pic by Google Maps)Manning broke into the flat at Bancroft Towers. (pic by Google Maps)
Manning broke into the flat at Bancroft Towers. (pic by Google Maps)

Leeds Crown Court heard that the victim has since died after being admitted to hospital.

Manning pleaded guilty to burglary and a probation report described the offence as “bizarre”, given his lack of convictions. The probation report said he was a retired warehouse operative, but admitted he had financial difficulties and was in arrears with his rent.

No further mitigation was offered by his barrister, Eleanor Durdy, after Judge Tom Bayliss KC said he would not jail him.

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Judge Bayliss told him: “You are 67 and you have turned to crime at a late age. It’s mean and selfish offending. You knew your neighbour was in hospital and you coveted his goods. It was something you plainly wanted.”

He gave him six months’ jail, suspended for 12 months, along with 50 hours of unpaid work.