Burglar's £11,000 haul as Leeds businesses ransacked

A BURGLAR who stole property worth more than £11,000 during a string of raids on Leeds city centre businesses has been jailed for two years.

Ian Hawkins, 24, (pictured) and an accomplice carried out six burglaries and two attempted burglaries within two days, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor, Joanne Shepherd said Hawkins, of Heights Close, Armley, and another man raided an office complex on Aire Street between 3.30am and 5am on Thursday February 18.

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They broke into one office and stole keys to get into other premises and took computer equipment worth more than £7,000.

Hawkins broke into the Digital Me offices on Aire Street and stole items worth more than £3,400.

The C Meade bespoke jewellers was ransacked and an estimated £600 worth of silver and gold stolen. Hawkins also tried to smash doors down at two other businesses on Aire Street.

Hawkins stole a till after forcing open a side door at the Metropole Hotel on King Street at around 1am on February 18. The till was later recovered from a nearby alleyway.

Miss Shepherd said Hawkins used a fire extinguisher to smash a window at the Jardine Lloyd Thompson insurance broker offices at The Bourse off Boar Lane in Leeds just before 5am on Tuesday February 16.

Hawkins, who has 37 previous convictions for 51 offences, admitted six burglaries and two attempted burglaries.

Mitigating Marcus Waite, said: “He has worked in the past. He has a qualification in hospitality and the catering industry and that’s the area where he looks for work when he is able to.”

Hawkins committed the burglaries while out of prison on licence after being released last September from a three year sentence for drugs offences.

Jailing Hawkins for two years, Judge Christopher Batty told him: “In at least two of the premises you ransacked them.

“You showed an absolute disregard that those were places of work for a lot of people who had no doubt spent a lot of money to build their businesses only to find they had been treated with utter disrespect and disdain and where a total of £11,500 worth of property was taken.”