sohail ashraf manchester

THREE young burglars who targeted a Bradford house at dead of night to steal the keys to three valuable cars have been jailed for a total of more than 13 years.

The trio raided the property in Moorside Gardens, Eccleshill, on November 29 last year in what the sentencing judge described as “a sophisticated, planned and organised enterprise.”

Bilal Shah, 22, of Gaythorne Terrace, Clayton, Bradford, was imprisoned for four and a half years after a jury convicted him of the burglary and the theft of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a BMW X5 and a BMW 5 series.

Baber Iqbal, 24, of Princeville Road, Lidget Green, Bradford, was jailed for four years and seven months after pleading guilty to the burglary and to handling a stolen van on April 2 while he was on bail.

Abuzar Raja, 22, of Aberdeen Place, Lidget Green, Bradford, was jailed for four years and three months after admitting the burglary offence.

Judge David Hatton QC said the burglars smashed a window at the house to steal computers, an iPhone and the keys to the vehicles parked on the drive.

The men arrived at the scene in a VW Jetta that was seized by the police and confiscated by the court.

The occupants of the house were woken by the burglary but there was no confrontation with the intruders, Bradford Crown Court heard on Friday.

The householder, a car dealer, woke to see the Mercedes being reversed down the drive and the two BMWs already in the road.

The police helicopter was scrambled and the burglars were apprehended hiding under a tree after police tracker dogs were set on their trail.

Shah and Iqbal were both on prison licence at the time of the burglary and Raja was already a “three strike” housebreaker, prosecutor Andrew Semple said.

Mr Semple told the court that Iqbal was caught driving a stolen VW Caddy on Cemetery Road, Bradford, while on bail for the burglary offence. He was unlicensed and uninsured and had to be dragged from the vehicle after the police boxed him in.

Tim Jacobs, Shah’s barrister, said all the stolen property was recovered fairly quickly. Shah had previous convictions for burglary but he was not a third striker.

He was building up a business as a plasterer and hoped to return to that line of work when he was released.

Mohammed Rafiq, for Iqbal, said his client did not go into the burgled property.

Iqbal had “gone off the rails” at the time and now wanted to lead an honest life. Giles Bridge, for Raja, said most of the burglary offences on his record were committed when he was a youth. He was about to start a plumbing course at the time of the burglary and was holding down two part-time jobs.