Rotherham dad jailed for handling stolen BMW

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A dad-of-three has been locked up after he was caught in possession of a luxury car stolen during a Sheffield house burglary.

The break-in took place at a property on Abbeydale Road South, Abbeydale, in August while the owners were away on holiday.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the property was left secure when the owner went away on August 8.

But, when she returned on August 19, the house had been ransacked and car keys and a BMW stolen.

Michael Tooley, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “When the owner returned she discovered entry had been forced into the house via a ground floor window. There had been a ransacking and among items stolen were the keys to a BMW and the car itself.

“The car was subsequently found in the car park of The Devonshire Arms pub in Herries Road on August 19.

“The windows were down, music was playing and the keys were in the ignition.

“The number plate had been removed from the car and was on the front passenger seat.”

Mr Tooley said a police constable who was on duty became aware the car had been left by Darren Smith after viewing CCTV footage of the pub car park.

Mr Tooley said Smith, aged 33, of Everingham Road, Longley, Sheffield, was identified from stills by another officer and he was arrested.

He was interviewed at Ecclesfield police station but declined to answer questions.

In a prepared statement he told officers he had been asked to move the car from Parson Cross to Shirecliffe and he had suspected that it was stolen.

Mr Tooley said he had a number of previous convictions - 25 offences dealt with at 15 different court appearances.

Smith admitted one charge of handling stolen goods.

Andrew Smith, defending, said Smith was a hard worker who had lost his previous job after his relationship broke down, and was claiming benefits.

He said Smith had three children who were now living in Australia and he was living with a new partner and her children.

Judge Paul Watson QC jailed Smith for 14 months, telling him: “You have a bad record for offences of dishonesty.

“In 2005 you spent time in custody for theft of vehicles, burglary of a dwelling house and handling stolen goods.

“In May you were given a community order after going equipped for theft. You were found on Walkley Road with a crowbar, torch and balaclava.

“The BMW was stolen in the course of a domestic burglary and you were found in possession of that vehicle.

“The circumstances by which you came by it are unclear. But you knew or believed that it was stolen goods.”