A serial theif with an unsavoury criminal history has been locked up for robbing a woman outside Batley bus station.

Hammaad Akalwaya, of New Way in Batley, stole a purse containing £117 on June 26 this year.

Heather Gilmore, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that the woman was standing out the back of the station having a smoke before getting in the queue to buy a bus pass when Akalwaya pulled the purse from her hand and dragged her to the ground.

She suffered bruises to her face, hand and back.

When he was arrested on August 2 and shown CCTV footage of him fleeing the scene, he said it was ‘twisted’ and ‘not like that’.

He said the woman had asked to buy cannabis from him, which he smokes but doesn’t sell, and grabbed his cannabis grinder from him before calling him the devil. He also said he only stole £10 from her.

The 20-year-old, who has previous convictions for robbery, attempted robbery, burglary and possession of a knife, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Mark Brookes, mitigating, said his client has anger issues as a result of being estranged from his father and also has a drug addiction.

Sentencing Akalwaya to three years in detention, Recorder Taryn Turner told him: “You have issues regarding your family.

“I have no doubt that you had a difficult start, but there comes a point when that no longer avails you.

“You are now 20 years of age raking up an unsavoury criminal history.”

Previously, Akalwaya at the age of 18 was jailed for two years in a young offenders for burgulary.

He used a pair of ladders to get into a flat at night and steal cash from a vulnerable neighbour.

Leeds Crown Court were told, Hammaad Akalwaya knew his victim, a 60-year-old man with health problems which made him tired and meant he slept a lot.

CPS Alun Jones, said he had in the past knocked on the man’s door in Carlinghow asking to borrow money or tobacco.

Akalwaya had told the man his name was Imran Khan and although he had been inside the flat he had never been in the kitchen.

On the night of May 28 the victim had left the kitchen window open and when he was disturbed by a banging sound he went to the rear of the flat and saw Akalwaya below with some extendable ladders.

He challenged him but the teenager said he was taking the ladders to use to get into his own property. The complainant later discovered £70 was missing from his kitchen and when the police attended they found Akalwaya’s fingerprints in that room.

The same complainant was heard again when a noise which was thought was coming from the bathroom window and looking out thought he saw someone sliding down a ladder.

He also saw handprints on the window ledge and when he looked out further, again saw Akalwaya with ladders. Nothing was taken on that occasion.

The court heard Akalwaya had a record including sentences of robbery and also one for unlawfully wounding his father.

Akalwaya told a probation officer he was hungry and desperate after his benefits had been stopped at a time when he was estranged from his family and living alone. He was also at that time addicted to cannabis.

Ashleigh Metcalfe, representing Akalwaya, said he had expressed remorse for his actions. He had no income and had even resorted to scrabbling in bins.

Mr Metcalfe said: “He acknowledges what he did was wrong.”

Akalwaya, 18, then of Centenary Way, Carlinghow, Batley admitted one burglary and an attempted burglary was sent to a young offender institution for two years.

Deputy Circuit Judge James Spencer QC said he had an appalling record and had clearly targeted his victim, successfully stealing from him once and trying to burgle the flat on another occasion.

“On both occasions he was present and asleep,” said the judge.