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Cancer victim went on major crime spree
10:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A disabled cancer victim has been jailed for more than four years after he carried out a £100,000 crime spree, including several offences in Craven.
Stephen Britton, who wears a false leg as a result of a road accident, took high-value tools and fishing equipment from vehicles as far afield as the Lake District and Staffordshire.
Bradford Crown Court heard that father-of-one Britton was a heavy drinker and felt he had nothing to lose after being diagnosed with Hodgkins disease.
The 43-year-old was jailed for four years and six months after prosecutor Soheil Khan outlined details of his extensive offending which covered a period from 2011 until July this year.
The court heard Britton had been committed for sentence by magistrates in Skipton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, North Cumbria and Bradford for offences in their areas and he also asked for 164 other thefts or attempted thefts from vehicles to be taken into consideration.
Britton had admitted all the offences.
Mr Khan said the case involved analytical work relating to the defendant's mobile phone and automatic number plate recognition systems.
The offences committed to the crown court totalled around £50,000 in terms of stolen property and damage, but Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC estimated that the total loss caused was in excess of £100,000.
The court heard that in February Britton was given a 19-week prison sentence by magistrates in Kendal, again for thefts from vehicles, but in July he was caught by police in Bradford after he took property from a van in Halifax Road.
Mr Khan said Britton drove off at speed in a Vauxhall Astra when police officers approached his car and ignored red traffic lights during a pursuit through the streets. Britton admitted an offence of dangerous driving in relation to the incident.
Lawyer Ashok Khullar, for Britton, said: “Part of the reason for what’s arisen is heavy drinking which has spiralled out of control, but a significant factor does seem to have been his diagnosis of cancer.”
Mr Khullar said Britton wanted to change his ways.
Judge Durham Hall said one could only imagine the extreme inconvenience and outrage caused to the hard-working victims.
Britton was also banned from driving for three years.