A burglar involved in a broad daylight raid on a remote Todmorden farmhouse has been jailed after the attack was featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme last year.
A judge heard today (Tuesday) how CCTV footage of the intruders was shown to viewers last October and information provided by the public led to the arrest of 30-year-old Benjamin Nightingale earlier this year.
Nightingale, of Belvoir Street, Rochdale, was jailed for more than two years after Judge Robert Bartfield said that the burglary in March last year had been a ‘targeted’ offence.
Nightingale and his accomplice travelled over to Yorkshire in a van and went into the farmhouse while the occupants were out working in the nearby fields.
The intruders were disturbed when the female householder drove up to the farmhouse and they eventually fled empty-handed.
But prosecutor Stephanie Hancock told Bradford Crown Court that a wardrobe in a bedroom had been smashed with its contents strewn around the room.
The burglars had also pulled a gun cabinet off the wall and Judge Bartfield said the fact that they had targeted the gun cabinet was very worrying.
Nightingale, who had two previous convictions for burglary on his record, was said to have handed himself in to the police earlier this year and at a crown court hearing last month he admitted burgling the farmhouse in the Inchfield Road area of Todmorden.
Miss Hancock submitted that the burglary was a category one offence as it involved some ransacking, targeting of the property and the fact that the intruders were disturbed by the return of the householder.
Nightingale’s two previous burglary convictions meant he qualified for a three-year minimum prison sentence under the so-called ‘’three strikes’’ legislation, but his early guilty plea to the latest offence meant he was entitled to a one third reduction in the sentence and Judge Bartfield jailed him for 876 days.
The court heard that Nightingale was in debt to a drug dealer at the time, but Judge Bartfield told him: “I am satisfied there was a significant degree of planning and you were equipped for burglary with a van,
“It is inevitable that these premises had been deliberately targeted.”