Thief jailed over phone thefts at bars in Leeds city centre

Have your say

A thief who targeted people in nightclubs for mobile phones before trying to sell them has been jailed.

Umadi Usman was given a 30-week sentence over his latest spate of “mean” offences at bars in Leeds city centre.

Leeds Crown Court heard police were called to the Neon Cactus bar, The Calls, in the early hours of September 22 last year after people reported phones missing.

Usman was recognised by officers in City Square a short time later.

Kitty Taylor, prosecuting, said Usman was seen offering to sell mobile phones to people.

When challenged by officers Usman claimed the phones had been handed to him by someone else.

Usman, of Albert Grove, Harehills, was also arrested on January 19 this year after an incident at Mojo, Merrion Street.

Miss Taylor said women realised their phones were missing from their handbags in the early hours of the morning and told staff.

She said: “Staff in there saw the defendant walking away and thought it was suspicious and found the phones on him.”

Usman kicked out and spat at staff as he was detained. He pleaded guilty to three offences of handling stolen goods and two of theft.

The court heard Usman has 21 previous convictions, mainly for dishonesty offences. He received a four month sentence in October 2012, for theft.

Kenton Sergeant, mitigating, said Usman had been in custody since January. The lawyer added that Usman had admitted the offences at an early opportunity and had co-operated with police.

Judge Neil Clark, passing sentence, said: “You have been before these courts already for this sort of offence and although the items stolen by you were low in value, it demonstrates a degree of meanness and determination on your part that you found yourself targeting people who leave their bags in places where they believe them to be safe in clubs or bars.

“Within a remarkably short period of time from when people had these things stolen from, you were trying to sell them.

“The last time you were in court you received a four-month sentence for theft.

“That does not appear to have taught you a lesson here and a sentence must inevitably be slightly longer.”

520-home Leeds city centre eco-village could be a world-leader