Jail for gang caught in Leeds scrap metal yard raid

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Five gang members have been jailed after being caught red-handed stealing £17,000 of metal when they broke into a scrap dealers in Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard the men, all Romanian nationals, travelled from Birmingham to carry out the night time raid at European Metal Recycling.

The group used a pick axe to smash a hole in a wall before passing blocks of copper through it.

An alarm was triggered during the break-in, around 2.30am on July 9, and security services notified police who arrived at the scene and arrested the men.

CCTV footage showed the group stealing the material over a 40-minute period.

Marius Mare, 24, Leontin Florea, 48, Costinel Bodescu, 20, and Andrei Trandfir, 21, were each jailed for two years after pleading guilty to burglary.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be named, was given a 16-month detention and training order after pleading guilty to burglary.

The court heard the youngster has a previous conviction for a similar offence after he was caught stealing metal in Wolverhampton weeks before the incident in Leeds.

Paul Nicholson, prosecuting, said metal worth £17,841 was stolen. After their arrest, the men admitted they had planned to stay at the premises longer and steal more but had been caught in the act.

The court heard the men had agreed to take part in the burglary after coming to the UK and being unable to find work.

Kate Bisset, for Trandfir, said he had been offered £50 to take part in the offence.

Jailing them, judge Sally Cahill said: “This was in my view a well planned commercial burglary.

“You specifically targeted a premises over 100 miles from where you lived. You did so at 2.20am. From the degree of planning, from the fact that you went equipped for burglary ... and the fact that you were in a gang, makes this a high culpability case.”

John Foley of PTSG

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