Thief caught after stealing generator from houseboat moored on Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Rodley

A thief was caught by police moments after he stole from a houseboat moored on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Officers arrested Andrew Bedford from a van which contained a pair of bolt cutters and a stolen petrol generator he had taken from from the houseboat as the owner slept inside.

Bedford and another man carried out the offence in the early hours of March 23 this year - the day lockdown was imposed - at Rodley Long Term Moorings.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds Crown Court heard the victim was in bed as the pair took the generator from the deck.

Andrew Bedford was jailed for stealing from houseboat on Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said police were in the area around the same time and became suspicious of a Ford Transit van parked near to Calverley Bridge

Around an hour later, two people returned to the van and sped off.

Officers followed the van and used a stop stick device to puncture its tyres when the driver refused to pull over.

The driver ran off and managed to get away.

Bedford was caught and officers found the generator and bolt cutters in the van.

He was also found in possession of cannabis.

Hours later, the victim awoke to find the generator, worth £420, was missing.

Bolt cutters had been used to break the chain that secured the generator.

Bedford, of Orchard Grove, Bradford, pleaded guilty to theft and possession of a class B drug.

The 44-year-old dad has previous convictions for burglary, theft, handling stolen goods and dangerous driving.

Shufqat Khan, mitigating, said his client was released from prison the month before the incident.

Mr Khan said the incident happened after he had gone out with the other man and got drunk.

Bedford was jailed for 18 months.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: "It may have started out as a drinking expedition but it quickly turned into a planned stealing expedition."