Teenage burglars boasted to taxi driver after raid on Leeds house

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A pair of teenage burglars who ransacked house and stole thousands of pounds worth of cash and jewellery were caught after ordering a taxi from the scene of the crime.

A court heard how the pair aroused the suspicion of the driver as they admired a valuable watch they had just stolen and then handed over £30 for a £5 fare. Lee O’Brien, 18, and his 17-year-old accomplice, who cannot be identified, were both sent to custody over the raid on the house on Gotts Park Crescent, Armley, Leeds, on October 29 this year.

O’Brien, of Wyther Park Close, Bramley, pleaded guilty to burglary and asked for five other offences to be taken into consideration.

He was sent to a young offenders institution for two years, four months.

The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to eight months detention.

The court heard how they both have previous convictions for burglary. Mark McKone, prosecuting, said the pair forced their way into the property in the early hours of the morning while the owner was away. They ransacked several rooms as they took £2,500 in cash and several thousand pounds worth of jewellery.

The pair then called a taxi to take them from the address. The driver contacted police after becoming suspicious as the pair discussed a watch worth £1,300 which they had just stolen. They then handed over £30 to the driver a five minute journey.

Police caught the pair a short time later and managed to recover some of the money and jewellery. The watch was deliberately smashed in a bid to hide evidence.

The 17-year-old had been made the subject of a youth rehabilitation order for burglary just six days before the offence.

Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, told the pair: “In my judgement, only custody can follow in each case. There must have been some form of planning.”