A DRUG addict who was involved in stealing stone worth more than £4,000 from properties around Huddersfield has been jailed.
Daniel Hutchinson's case was committed for sentence to Bradford Crown Court after Huddersfield magistrates decided their powers were insufficient.
Yesterday Judge Roger Scott backed their decision, locking Hutchinson up for 10 months.
Hutchinson, 24, a kitchen fitter of Cowlersley Lane, Cowlersley, was tracked down after a suspicious neighbour gave police the number of a van which Hutchinson and another man had been using to try and steal £400 worth of stone from a Slaithwaite garden last November.
On that occasion the stone was recovered.
But prosecutor Louise Azmi told Judge Scott that in addition to the attempted theft charge Hutchinson was also asking for 20 similar offences to be considered.
These offences involved stealing stone from properties across the area, including Golcar, Cowlersley, Longwood and Linthwaite.
Mrs Azmi said the value of the stolen stone was just over £4,600.
Hutchinson's barrister, Louise Reevell, said the heroin and cocaine addict had expressed remorse.
But Judge Scott dismissed her submissions that the value of the stone stolen was relatively low'.
Judge Scott told Hutchinson that it was easy to steal stone.
He added: "It is planned, organised and extremely profitable.
"All it needs is a bare-faced piece of activity. That's what you were doing.
"It's all very well for your counsel to say 'well £5,000 isn't very much'.
"Well I disagree. It's not just the stone; it's the fact that these people lose it.
"They wake up or come back from work and they find their walls gone.
"It's extremely annoying, upsetting and worrying.
"It is a very serious problem in certain areas and you were active in the Slaithwaite and Golcar areas of Huddersfield for a reasonable length of time."
Judge Scott told Hutchinson that the only sentence which could be passed in such cases was the one the magistrates had in mind, which was in excess of four months in jail.
In addition to Hutchinson's 10-month jail term Judge Scott also banned him from driving for a year, because the offences could only have been committed with the use of a motor vehicle.