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Back behind bars: Walsall thief ‘left behind trail of misery’ in one-man crime spree

By John Scott | Walsall | Crime | Published:

Walsall serial offender Paul Leonard was back behind bars, starting a three-year sentence today after a fortnight-long one-man crimewave.

The 28-year-old, who committed his first crime at the age of 12 and had 28 previous convictions, carried out two burglaries causing a total of £8,700 damage and loss to the owners, crashed a car into a wall six hours after it had been stolen in a car key burglary, failed to attend a drug test and broke a community order – all within 15 days in September.

The spree was halted by his distinctive running style, acquired after a police car crushed one of his feet around 10 years ago, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told. This helped officers to identify him from security camera footage.

British Dye Castings in Friars Close, Bloxwich, was burgled between September 15 and 18, explained Mr Nicholas Burn, prosecuting.

The alarms were disabled during an untidy search in which staff lockers and vending machines were smashed and property stolen, leaving a £5,000 repair bill.

Plundering

On September 24, Leonard stole £400 worth of diesel from Walsall Pressings Ltd in Bloxwich Road, Walsall, and on the following day broke into the nearby Forresters pub, causing £3,700 damage breaking into gaming machines and plundering the food store, continued Mr Burn.

Six days later he lost control of a VW Golf and crashed into a wall at the junction of Walker Road and Guild Avenue in Walsall, six hours after the £5,000 vehicle had been reported stolen in Shifnal.

CCTV footage revealed his tell-tale running style.

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Meanwhile, he missed every appointment of a community order, broke the terms of a curfew and failed to have a drug test before being arrested on November 21.

Miss Seamran Sidhu, defending, said Leonard, who works in the building trade, had been making efforts to kick his drug habit and was a good father.

The defendant from Kent Street, Coalpool, Walsall, admitted burglary, theft, failing to take a drug test and breaching a community order. A jury found him guilty of aggravated vehicle taking.

Judge Michael Challinor told him: “You have been before the court every year since you were 16 with offending that leaves a trail of misery and loss.”

"It appears you hold the police, offender managers and the probation service in complete contempt."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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