Burglar targeted 40 student properties in Leeds

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A BURGLAR carried out more than 40 raids at homes in Leeds’s student heartland during a three-month crime spree.

Anthony Poll, 21, was jailed for two years, 11 months after admitting to a series of offences during which more than £20,000 worth of valuables were stolen.

Many of Poll’s offences were over the Christmas holidays when he knew the properties he targeted would be empty.

Poll was caught after breaking into a house on Christmas Eve and ransacking the property while the victim was still at home.

Police were called and caught him at the scene. His home on Thornville Terrace, Hyde Park, was then searched and items stolen during his crime spree were recovered.

Poll pleaded guilty to three offences of burglary and two of theft. He also asked the court to take 38 further offences of burglary into consideration.

Jailing Poll, Recorder Andrew Kershaw said: “You were callous in the extreme as to the harm that you caused to all those people whose homes you invaded.”

The court heard student victims lost lap tops which continued valuable course work. Others lost precious photographs, memories and important contact details in the raids.

The offences were carried out in the Hyde Park and Kirkstall area of Leeds between October and December last year

Adam Birkby, mitigating, said Poll had not deliberately targeted student areas but committed the offences because the properties were local to where he lived.

Mr Birkby said: “He simply went out and burgled homes in the area where he lives. I appreciate that is not an attractive prospect.”

The barrister said Poll committed the offences in a bid to pay drug dealers he was in debt to.

He said Poll had admitted to a schedule of offending after being arrested in a bid to ‘wipe the slate clean’ with police.

Det Insp Paul Strafford, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “Poll is a prolific offender who committed a large number of burglaries over a relatively short period of time. His crimes impacted on the lives of a number of people, some of whom who lost not only their possessions but also important student course work, photographs and other valuable information.

“His case illustrates the work we do under Operation Converter to get prolific offenders to ‘wipe the slate clean’ by admitting other crimes that they have committed.

“This brings some closure to victims to know that the person responsible has admitted the offence and has been dealt with by the justice system.

“We hope Poll will take the opportunity during his time in custody and on his eventual release to engage with programmes we and our partner agencies operate to help break his cycle of offending.”