Stolen tortoise leads police to major drugs haul

A raid on a South Yorkshire  flat containing a stolen tortoise led police to stumble upon a massive drugs haul.

Billy Metcalfe

Billy Metcalfe and Matthew Wiggett were caught in the premises with stolen property – including the pet tortoise – as well as almost £35,000 worth of cocaine, £5,000 of amphetamines and £16,000 worth of cannabis belonging to Metcalfe.

And while out on bail over the discoveries at a Wath flat he had been living in, Metcalfe took part in a series of terrifying targeted burglaries in the Swinton area in which he hit one of his victims in the head with an axe and used a chainsaw to break down doors.

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Metcalfe, aged 33 and of Illsey Road, Barnsley, was jailed for 10 years at Sheffield Crown Court, with Wiggett, aged 32 and of no fixed address, given four years and eight months in prison.

Matthew Wiggett

On October 13, Wiggett ransacked a home on Doncaster Road in Barnburgh, making off with items including a diamond ring, a Gucci watch and £500 in cash.

On October 25, a house in the Doncaster area was burgled, with thieves making off with cash, bank cards, a Ford Mondeo and a tortoise.

The following day the Mondeo was spotted parked outside a flat in West Street in Wath where Metcalfe was living.

Prosecutor Zaiban Alam said police raided the flat the following day, finding both Metcalfe and Wiggett inside, along with the stolen property.

Matthew Wiggett

She said: “The tortoise was alive and well. The complainant was overjoyed her pet tortoise was recovered.”

A search of the house revealed thousands of pounds worth of drugs stored in the property.

While out on bail, in February Metcalfe was involved in a targeted burglary spree with other yet-to-be-identified criminals over a four-day period in the Swinton area. Metcalfe went into the first victim’s home in Sanderson Way, Swinton, and hit him in the head with an axe before other men entered the property and started ransacking it.

The men tried to start the victim’s car and break into his shed with a hammer, making off with £410 in cash and other items including jewellery, iPhones and watches. They also took the complainant’s van from the town centre – which was found later that month with stolen numberplates on in Wath.

Metcalfe also targeted another house in Swinton, where the owner’s Jaguar and Ford Cougar was stolen after the car keys were stolen from inside the house.

The Ford has never been recovered but the Jaguar was found in Wath – with a scarf inside that had Metcalfe’s DNA on it.

Metcalfe was also part of a third burglary on Prince Street in Swinton in which he used a chainsaw to break down a door as part of a gang involving two other men and one woman.

On the same day, Metcalfe was part of a group of four men seen breaking into a house while armed with a chainsaw and a knife before ransacking the property.

Recorder Ian Harris said Metcalfe had described the burglary victims as ‘either drug dealers, millionaires or cowards’. Metcalfe was given an extended jail term that means he must serve at least two-thirds of his term in custody, instead of the usual half.