Sneak-in thief who raided 40 Sheffield homes jailed for six years

Gareth Ward
Gareth Ward
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A sneak-in burglar who caused misery to dozens of Sheffield residents has been jailed for six years.

Gareth Daniel Ward, aged 36 and of Holland Road, Highfields, stole phones, game consoles and laptops from people’s homes as he targeted 40 properties in the Ecclesall Road area of Sheffield during a four-month period at the turn of the year.

He also took cash and bankcards - which he then used to buy goods and withdraw money from the accounts of his victims.

Ward carried out his burglary spree between December 2015 and March 2016, entering homes through open doors and windows.

But he was caught after police recognised him from CCTV stills after Ward had used stolen cards to take £400 from a cash machine.

He used that money to buy sports goods and top up his mobile phone.

Ward was convicted of six burglaries and has asked for 33 other offences to be taken into consideration as he was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.

As well as money and electronic goods, Ward also stole people’s cars.

During the raids, Ward picked up victims’ keys and drove off in a Vauxhall Corsa from Stalker Lees Road, a 125cc Honda motorbike from Alderson Road and a Mercedes C350 Sport from Meadow Terrace.

DC Mark Wilkinson, the officer in charge of the investigation for South Yorkshire Police, welcomed the six-year prison sentence handed to the defendant.

He said the case also acted as a warning for people to lock their doors and windows to protect themselves from falling victim to criminals such as Ward.

“Burglary is a crime which understandably leaves many victims frightened and upset,” he said.

“I would urge people to always lock doors and windows, even when in the home, so not to fall prey to opportunistic thieves like Ward.

“Thankfully we are able to recover some of the stolen property and return it to its rightful owners.”