Ringleader of Craven College burglary gang jailed

Craven Herald: Stuart Walton Stuart Walton

The ringleader of a burglary gang that stole valuable computer equipment from schools and colleges – including Craven College in Skipton – has been jailed for four years and five months.

Judge Robert Bartfield told Stuart Walton, 32: “You should be utterly ashamed,” when he locked him up at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday afternoon.

Walton, of Percy Street, Keighley, pleaded guilty to six burglary offences and two of handling stolen goods.

Other burglary targets were the Samuel Lister Academy in Cottingley, Ilkley Grammar School and Challenge College in Frizinghall.

In the dock with him were Daniel Illingworth, 23, of Bar Lane, Riddlesden, and Michael Kenrick, 24, of Dalton Lane, Keighley.

Illingworth admitted two offences of handling stolen computers and Kenrick one offence of handling stolen computers for the benefit of another.

The court heard that Walton raided Craven College on September 30 to take 18 Apple computers valued at more than £10,000.

The stolen computers were trundled along in wheelbarrows into a vehicle. Illingworth admitted handling them and all three defendants admitted handling six of eight computers, valued at £11,600, stolen days later from the college.

Richard Gioserano, mitigating for Walton, said he had worked hard as a landscape gardener and was remorseful.

Simon Myers, for Illingworth, said he had no previous convictions and had set up his own business as a plumbing and heating engineer.

He was ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to Craven College.

Stephen Wood said Kenrick was a lorry driver who handled the computers for someone else.

He was conditionally discharged and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Judge Bartfied told Walton: “Our educational establishments struggle hard enough to survive without the damage that you burglars did by taking their essential equipment, depriving children of what they need.”

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