Serial criminal gets three-year slap on wrist

Serial criminal gets three-year slap on wrist

A BURGLAR who broke into a Liversedge couple’s home while they were asleep upstairs with their young granddaughter has been jailed.

Despite a long history as a career criminal and previous prison sentences, Luke Mark Menzies, 25, was sentenced to just three years and eight months in prison by a judge at Leeds Crown Court.

The court heard that police used DNA found on a blowtorch which was used in the crime to catch him.

The occupants of the house on Kings Lea in Norristhorpe had gone to bed for the night when the break-in happened in the early hours of February 22.

Stephen Welch, prosecuting, said the blowtorch was used to target a side door which then had the lock snapped off.

Menzies took a mobile phone, a tablet device, a wallet containing £200 in cash and the keys to an Audi A1 which was driven off.

At 3.50am police saw the stolen vehicle, along with a VW Golf which had false number plates on it, being driven on Halifax Road, Dewsbury.

Both vehicles sped off and the Audi was found abandoned a short time later.

When it was searched the blowtorch was found inside, along with a pair of mole grips still holding the barrel from the lock at the burgled premises.

Forensic evidence showed Menzies’ DNA present on both tools.

The court heard that he had nine previous convictions for house burglaries.

Ray Singh, representing Menzies, said he realised he would be receiving a lengthy sentence which would be the longest he had ever served.

After release from his last term he had struggled financially “and resorted to the way of life he knows”.

Menzies, 25, of no fixed address, admitted burglary and theft of the car.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said he had a long record, having appeared on 36 occasions for 101 offences.

He added: “Significantly, on nine previous occasions you have been sentenced in relation to dwelling house burglaries.

“You broke into a house at night occupied by a man, his wife and granddaughter who were asleep upstairs.

“You broke in using equipment taken to the scene, a blowtorch and mole grips and having got in you stole a number of items including a tablet and phone and the keys to the car outside.”

He said such offences, known as Hanoi burglaries after a previous police operation, “cause enormous impact on the community”.

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