Home Alone-style burglar caused £350,000 of damage to luxury home in Yorkshire village

A 'Wet Bandit' burglar has been jailed after causing £350,000 of damage to a luxury home by turning on the taps when he left - just like in the film Home Alone.

Joe Cunningham, 29, admitted being part of a gang that broke into and flooded a house on a millionaire's row after disabling CCTV and breaking in through a window. Leeds Crown Court heard how the raiders struck the address in the village of Oulton in West Yorkshire at around 4.30am on December 28 while the owner was away.

Houses in the street have sold for as much as £1,700,000 in recent years. After they had finished plundering the property, the gang hooked up a hosepipe to the taps and flooded it.

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The tactic was the same used by the fictional duo Marv Murchins and Harry Lyme - dubbed the 'Wet Bandits' - in the much-loved 1990 slapstick movie.

Joe Cunningham, 29Joe Cunningham, 29
Joe Cunningham, 29

Cunningham's DNA was found at the scene and he was arrested on January 10 at his home and held on remand. He had previously come to the police's attention when a Range Rover was stolen from outside The Wellington pub in Shadwell, near Leeds, on March 2 last year.

The owner had been inside the pub having a meal when the theft unfolded. CCTV footage showed how a Mitsubishi Shogun pulled up next to it before the occupants got out and broke into the vehicle - with both cars then leaving in convoy.

Police located the 4x4 in the Moortown area of Leeds using its tracker and gave chase. Cunningham accelerated away, mounting grass verges and driving on the wrong side of the carriageway. He eventually abandoned the Range Rover on Lingfield Drive and fled on foot and gave cops the slip despite a helicopter being dispatched.

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Two months later, they tracked him down to a house where a social gathering was taking place. When police entered the address to arrest him, he became violent and headbutted one of the officers, leaving him with a broken nose.

Another officer was also left with bruising to their face. Cunningham then gave a no-comment interview at the police station. Cunningham later admitted a string of offences, including burglary, dangerous driving, driving while banned, taking a vehicle without the owner's consent, Section 20 GBH, assault on an emergency worker and possession of cannabis.

He previously has nine previous convictions for 17 offences, including 10 for theft and four dwelling burglaries.

Charles Blatchford, mitigating, said Cunninghad had lost close family members and struggled with mental health issues.

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He told the court: "He wishes to express his remorse and the harm he has caused."

But Judge Robin Mairs told Cunningham on Friday (Apr 5): "It was a planned burglary, it was not stumbled across. This was planned, professional and sophisticated offending. It caused substantial economic loss. You are a professional and committed offender."

He was jailed for a total of six years and three months and banned from driving for five years and 11 months.