Career burglar back behind bars EXCLUSIVE

Thomas Cawley.
Thomas Cawley.
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A career burglar who was first jailed at the age of TEN is back behind bars after committing more than 100 break-ins.

Thomas Cawley, 31, from Harehills, Leeds, will now finish a four-year sentence after breaking his early release terms for a SECOND time.

The city has had some of the worst burglary rates in the country.

But the serial offender, who specialises in preying on the elderly, has been sent back to jail as part of a new police crackdown targeting repeat offenders in the city.

Det Insp Richard Holmes of North East Leeds Proactive Crime Team, said: “Burglary rates in Leeds have been significantly reduced in recent months through work by police and other agencies including Probation Service.

“One area of this is successfully targeting the hardcore of offenders responsible for the majority of offences across the city.

“The close monitoring of those released from prison means we are able to reduce rates of re-offending and quickly identify and arrest those who believe they can return to a

life of crime and get them back behind bars.”

In September 2009, Leeds Crown Court heard that Cawley, then living in Osmondthorpe, Leeds, was first convicted of burglary at the age of 10.

Cawley had since stolen more than £24,000 from the homes of vulnerable elderly women, the court heard.

At the time Cawley admitted taking £3,000 from an 87-year-old woman’s wardrobe after sneaking into her home in Meanwood, Leeds, in June that year.

During that hearing the heroin addict with 49 previous convictions for burglary asked for 53 other burglaries to be taken into account – many involving pensioners.

Cawley was first released on licence from Wealstun Prison, Wetherby, in June this year.

In November this year he was recalled to Hull Prison for a standard 28 days after failing a drugs test.

He was again released early on December 2 and was warned by police he would be monitored and offered support to go straight.

But after regular checks, police established he was not living at his registered address in Harehills, Leeds, and tracked him to a home near Selby, North Yorkshire, where he was arrested.

Investigations then linked Cawley to two burglaries, one in West Yorkshire and one in North Yorkshire, and he was recalled to prison to finish his four-year sentence.

* In September, October and November last year the monthly totals for burglaries in Leeds were respectively 668, 841 and 946.

In the same months this year the figures were down to 603, 678 and 601.