Earlsheaton burglary victim’s message to thieves lands him in trouble

PERSONAL MESSAGE Graham Jagger with a few words of advice for any would-be thieves sizing up his Earlsheaton home.  (d614e341)
PERSONAL MESSAGE Graham Jagger with a few words of advice for any would-be thieves sizing up his Earlsheaton home. (d614e341)

Two break-ins in the space of 10 days were the final straw for a business owner repeatedly targeted by burglars.

Graham Jagger has now put up a sign on his Earlsheaton home with a few choice words for any would-be thieves.

But the warning almost landed him on the wrong side of the law after police received a complaint about the language it used.

Mr Jagger said: “They were out in less than 10 minutes to [warn] me, but when I phone and a proper crime has been committed, it’s days.

“I think it’s disgusting, I really do.”

Police told 50-year-old Mr Jagger that he would be arrested if he did not remove the sign.

But Mr Jagger said the sign was there to stay until the perpetrators were found.

“I said I would make it more appropriate by removing some letters, but it’s staying where it is,” he said.

A police spokeswoman said it was a public order offence to display language if it caused harassment, alarm or distress.

She said: “The householder was given sufficient time to remove the offensive language and warned that if it was not removed they would be liable for a fixed penalty notice. No further complaint has been received.”

In the meantime, Mr Jagger is installing a CCTV system to catch anyone else who targets his home, garages or shed, and is offering a reward for information that leads to a conviction.

“The police are telling me to get CCTV and put up security fencing,” he said. “It’s got to the point where I’m going to have to get a loan and do it, but I shouldn’t have to get into debt because of the people who are doing this.”

Mr Jagger has suffered 10 burglaries or attempted burglaries since he moved to Syke Lane four years ago.

It has cost his plastering and electrical service business thousands in materials and tools, putting the future of the firm and his home at risk.

“I can’t work as they’ve taken all my materials for jobs,” he said. “When I have to pay out again, I’m working for the next three weeks for nothing. It’s not right.

“I’ve been sitting up all night keeping watch for them in case they come back.”

The most recent break-ins last month resulted in the theft of tools from his garage and a model aircraft worth £1,000 from his garden shed.

The burglars even took down part of his wall and used the bricks to help them climb onto the shed roof.

Mr Jagger said: “The model aircraft was my way of relaxing. I can’t even do that now.

“It’s about time these people were stopped.”

The police spokeswoman said details of the items stolen were included in officer briefings and house-to-house enquiries were made, but no arrests had been made yet.

She said officers also gave crime prevention advice .