Leeds burglars 'set fire to home'

Burglars are thought to have returned to a house they raided to set it on fire to cover their forensic tracks.

Police have issued pictures of the appalling damage to the north Leeds home.

Detectives suspect that the blaze at the property in Henconner Crescent, Chapel Allerton, at about 10pm on December 28 was deliberately started possibly in a bid to destroy any forensic evidence left behind by burglars who struck between Christmas Eve and December 28.

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The occupants of the house were away at the time and were alerted to news of the arson attack and earlier burglary by fire crews called to deal with the blaze.

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The householders have had to obtain alternative accommodation since returning to Leeds.

The interior of the semi-detached house along with furnishings and belongings was severely damaged in the fire which could easily have spread to a neighbouring house containing adults and children, said police.

In the earlier burglary two distinctive motorcycles, two mountain bikes and a games console were stolen when both the house and the adjacent garage were burgled.

It is possible that the burglary could have taken place as early as Boxing Day as locals said it appeared the garage door was insecure.

Now police have appealed for witnesses to either incidents or anyone with information to contact Det Con Richard James of North East Leeds CID at Stainbeck Police Station on 0113 2413283 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Today Det Con James said he was eager to speak to anyone who seen any suspicious behaviour in or around Henconner Crescent or in Potternewton Park between December 24 and 28 and anyone who had been offered such motorcycles or bikes or had knowledge of their whereabouts. One of the motorcycles taken was a valuable high performance 1,000cc Suzuki SV motorcycle which was found burned out in nearby Potternewton Park, Potternewton, in the early hours of December 29.

Also stolen was a black coloured Chinese built Shineray miniature style 125cc motorcycle worth at least 500.

The two mountain bikes stolen included a specialist cycle and a Bianchi – both worth in excess of 500 each.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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