Leeds Crown Court, Anna Gowthorpe_PA Archive_PA ImagesLeeds Crown Court, Anna Gowthorpe_PA Archive_PA Images


I’m reformed now, says burglar who targeted used car dealership three times in nine days

  • Prolific criminal ‘just’ escapes jail sentence
  • William Webb targeted Giovanni Automobili three times in nine days
  • He had 45 previous convictions
  • But mitigating barrister says Webb is a changed man now
  • Judge takes pity on him and frees him from prison remand

Time 11:05 am, July 8, 2024

A prolific criminal who burgled a used car dealership three times in nine days has been spared a prison sentence.

CCTV nabbed William Webb, 43, each time he struck at Giovanni Automobili in Wakefield on April 6, 7 and 15.

Leeds Crown Court was told that he also left a fingerprint when he took a £900 MacBook, computer equipment together worth £420 and a microwave valued at £15.

Prosecutor Beatrice Allsop said that Webb, of Pontefract Road, Featherstone, smashed a wooden board that had been put up temporarily after an earlier break-in to get in again, reported the Yorkshire Evening Post.

He pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared in court last week via a video link from Leeds Prison, where he was being held on remand.

Webb also pleaded guilty to stealing items from Sainsbury’s and B&M in Wakefield and Featherstone, as well as theft from a motor vehicle plus fraud by false representation.

He and another man were seen trying car doors on March 8 before finding an unlocked Ford Transit.

The court was told that Webb – who has 45 previous convictions for 99 offences, 71 of them for theft and a number of non-dwelling burglaries – took a laser measuring tool valued at £1,000, two Stihl saws valued at £300 each, plus a wallet that had £80 cash as well as bank cards.

A CCTV camera subsequently caught him using a bank card to buy vapes, sweets and cigarettes.

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In addition, Webb pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal after breaking into the secure car parking area of Chantry Waters flats in Wakefield on April 3.

In mitigation, his barrister, Rachel Webster, was quoted as saying: ‘He is genuinely remorseful for his actions and apologises to all the victims involved. He says he is a totally different person now.’

She added that he was determined to overcome a lengthy addiction to drugs and alcohol, saying that he was in bad health and suffered from epilepsy that was ‘not being managed well’ while he was behind bars.

Webster also said that Webb had had a hard upbringing, having been forced to steal to make money so that his mother and father could feed their drug habits.

‘He wants to help himself,’ she told the court.

Judge Anesh Pema made Webb the subject of a two-year community order, including an intensive drug rehabilitation requirement, plus 25 rehabilitation days.

He also told him that he must enrol on the Thinking Skills Programme run by the probation service, commenting that he’d only ‘just’ been convinced not to impose a custodial sentence.

Main picture credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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