Three “career criminals” who were part of a burglary gang which attacked dozens of homes in Calderdale and further afield have today (Friday) been given prison sentences totalling more than 15 years.
One of the gang 31-year-old Shahbaz Sabri, who was described as a specialist driver, admitted involvement in more than 60 offences over a six-month period last year.
Bradford Crown Court heard that many of the attacks were aimed at stealing high-value cars some of which may have been stolen to order.
Sabri, of Heights Lane, Heaton, Bradford, was jailed for seven years and six months, after he pleaded guilty to three offences of house burglary and three related charges of stealing motor vehicles.
But he also asked for a further 61 break-ins or attempted break-ins to be taken into consideration covering attacks in various Yorkshire towns and cities including Halifax, Elland, Bradford, Ilkley, Keighley, Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Batley.
Judge John Potter was told that Sabri’s offending involved stolen cars and property worth in excess of £850,000.
“It is almost breath-taking that level of criminality, is it not,” the judge told Sabri.
Sabri’s co-defendants 25-year-old Amir Khan, of Lytham Street, Halifax, and 26-year-old Hasrat Shah, of Chatham Street, Undercliffe, Bradford, were also given lengthy prison sentences after they admitted more limited involvement in the crime spree.
Khan admitted five house burglaries and three offences of theft of motor vehicles and asked for 13 similar offences to be taken into consideration.
His offending involved stolen property worth more than £73,000 with only about £20,000 worth recovered.
Khan was jailed for five years and four months, while father-to-be Shah was locked up for three years and seven months after he admitted being involved in three break-ins.
Shah carried out two of those burglaries with Khan at houses in Grassington Road, Skipton, on Christmas Eve last year.
Prosecutor Simon Batiste said those offences involved the theft of a war medal and other sentimental items belonging to a householder who was away on holiday and property including wrapped Christmas presents from a semi-detached home nearby.
Shah third offence that night took place at the home of an 83-year-old woman in Hebden Bridge while she was visiting her daughter for Christmas.
Mr Bastiste outlined details of a series of offences which involved early hours break-ins at homes where the occupiers were asleep.
The intruders often stole the keys to valuable vehicles parked outside the properties and Mr Batiste said the offences amounted to so-called Hanoi burglaries on “an industrial scale”.
The court heard that Sabri had become involved in the offences while he was still on licence from a previous prison term for house burglary.
His barrister Brendan O’Leary said Sabri’s guilty pleas and admissions were a demonstration of his significant remorse and determination to wipe the slate clean.
He said Sabri’s role was to act as a specialist driver and he was paid between £100 and £150 per night.
“He was struggling to make ends meet and took the disastrous decision to get involved in this enterprise,” said Mr O’Leary.
Jailing the trio Judge Potter said their previous convictions showed them to be “career criminals” who acted together as a gang in targeting people’s homes over a wide area looking for vehicles and other items to steal.
The judge said such offending had a “corrosive effect” on the community and significant custodial sentences had to be imposed.
Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Richard Partis, of Bradford District CID, said: “Sabri and Khan were prolific burglars who targeted and stole high powered vehicles from addresses across West Yorkshire.
“They have admitted to a string of offences where almost a million pounds worth of vehicles and property were taken.
“Tackling burglary is a priority for Bradford District and we are acutely aware of the personal effect it can have on the victim.
“We are committed to removing prolific offenders from the community and putting the fear of crime straight back on to those who commit it.
“I am pleased with the sentences handed down today and hope this sends out a clear message to anyone else that If you involve yourself in burglary, this will ultimately be the outcome.”