Promising Leeds racehorse-trainer found 'hiding behind a sofa' after burglaries

A award-winning racehorse trainer from Leeds has been foiled by his own glove, after a series of botched burglaries earlier this year.

By Richard Beecham
Monday, 27th June 2022, 4:45 pm

Former young offender Adrian Stewart, 33, of Clovelly Grove, Beeston, was staying in Leeds after carving out a promising career in the horseracing industry, but had returned to bad habits, breaking into properties around Wakefield earlier this year.

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On April 11, at around 1.10am, the occupant of a house in Church Road, Stanley, heard a door opening downstairs while he laid in bed. He observed a CCTV feed on his mobile phone when he saw Stewart in his kitchen. He shouted at the defendant to get out of the property and ran downstairs towards the kitchen, but Stewart had fled, leaving behind a glove.

The hearing took place in Leeds Crown Court.

Police were called out and did a search of the nearby area minutes later, having already been told by another nearby resident that someone had tried her door handle.

Officers found Stewart in Rooks Nest Road. Stewart was said by police to be intoxicated, and was found to be carrying bottles of Passoa, Gordon's Gin, a "box of assorted alcoholic drinks", bottoms and a pair of trainers. The alcohol to already have been stolen from a "garden bar" in Long Causeway, Wakefield - a burglary during which a car was also broken into, with a pair of gloves stolen. The glove found at Church Road property matched the description, and was later found to contain Stewart's DNA.

Stewart was already out on bail when police linked him to the second crime and understood him to be staying at a house in Holbeck. When attending this house, police had to use a saw to force entry, before entering the living room to find Stewart hiding behind the sofa.

The court was told Stewart had managed to turn his life around when he attended a foundation training course at the National Horseracing College near Doncaster, before becoming a respected racehorse trainer. He was even featured in an article on the National Horseracing College website, having won an award as the industry's "best newcomer" in 2018, during which he talks about how he managed to turn his life around after offending in his younger years.

Mitigating for Stewart, Craig Sutcliffe told the court that Stewart had been living in Shropshire, but returned to West Yorkshire when his relationship with his girlfriend broke down.

"He began using drink and drugs to try and stabilise himself," said Mr Sutcliffe. "But since this case has been awaiting court, he has re-established with his partner, and for him to return to Shropshire and return to the riding community."

Stewart had already pleaded guilty to burglary and attempted burglary.

Sentencing Stewart to nine months in prison, Recorder Catherine Silverton said: "You have a long record of offending going back to 2004, but very little from 2011 onwards.

"You had a difficult background, but you showed you were capable of turning yourself round. You found your niche carved out a good career.

"You are at a crossroads in your life. You have taken the wrong turn and if you continue to go down this road, you will be looking at a considerably longer sentence than this.

"If you resume your employment and not trouble the court again, you are looking at a brighter future."