Manningham boating pavilion: £50k damage for £60 haul

A MAN who burgled just £60 from Bradford’s Lister Park Boating Pavilion while doing more than £50,000 damage has been jailed for three and a half years.

Richard Braithwaite and two accomplices broke into the building in the early hours of September 29, 2018, destroying bespoke metal shutters and smashing glass blocks, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Braithwaite, 37, of Norwood Avenue, Shipley, prised open the tills at 2.30am to make off with £60 in cash but was unable to get into the safe, prosecutor Nick Adlington said.

He and another man then returned to the building in North Park Road, Manningham, three hours later, possibly because Braithwaite had dropped a phone when committing the burglary.

He was arrested when a DNA match was made on blood he left at the scene.

Mr Adlington said it was owned by Bradford Council and leased out as a public amenity.

At 9.30am on the morning after the break-in, the shutters were discovered to be open, glass was smashed and there were marks on the walls where someone had climbed in.

The damage came to more than £50,000 and the pavilion was closed for months afterwards.

The court heard that a bollard was thrown at glass during the raid causing wanton destruction.

Seven months earlier, on February 21, 2018, Braithwaite and his co-accused Elizabeth Boocker had raided a schoolteacher’s home in Waterfront Mews, Apperley Bridge, and made off with two laptop computers, two hard drives, an 18 carat gold and diamond ring, two watches and aftershave, together worth more than £3,000.

Boocker, 41, formerly of Thornacre Road, Shipley, was given a key to the property and the code to deactivate the alarm because she had been employed there as a cleaner, the court heard.

She admitted theft and Braithwaite was convicted by a jury of burgling the address. He pleaded guilty to burgling the pavilion.

Braithwaite’s barrister, Camille Morland, said he was a desperate drug addict at the time and now very anxious to rehabilitate himself. The offences took place a long time ago.

Martin Robertshaw, for Boocker, said she too was battling a long-standing addiction to drugs.

Judge Jonathan Rose told the defendants: “This is another sad case demonstrating the evils of class A drugs.” Boocker had committed “an appalling breach of trust” when she stole from a house she was employed to clean. She was trusted with the key and the alarm code.

Judge Rose said the boating pavilion was held in high esteem by the local community and Braithwaite had caused its closure for a considerable period of time.

Braithwaite, who was on remand in Leeds Prison, was jailed for two years for burgling the house and 18 months to run consecutively for burgling the boathouse.

Boocker, who was on bail, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment but her case was adjourned for a week so that Judge Rose can decide whether or not to suspend the sentence. She is now homeless and was remanded in custody.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News