Professional burglar in £119,000 jewellery raid on Harrogate property

A professional burglar stole over £150,000 worth of jewellery, cars and antiques in a series of raids at properties across Harrogate and north Leeds.

Friday, 2nd December 2016, 8:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:41 am
David Cuskin

A court heard David Cuskin’s victims had been left feeling violated and unsafe in their own homes due to the destruction he left behind.

In one offence, Cuskin, 34, stole £119,000 worth of jewellery from a property in Harrogate.

In another burglary he ransacked a property in Adel, Leeds, before stealing a car, jewellery, 21st birthday presents as well as a tumble drier, a sofa and a boiler.

A raid on a property in Roundhay, Leeds, saw him steal antiques including five Edwardian clocks, three barometers and cutlery.

Leeds Crown Court heard Cuskin has 29 previous convictions for burglary and had been released from prison on licence two months before the offences, which were carried out in August and September this year.

He was jailed for nine years.

Imposing the sentence, judge James Spencer, QC, said: “I have no hesitation in describing this man as a professional burglar and as such he must be sentenced as a professional burglar.

“His pattern of offending establishes beyond any doubt, that he is a great danger to the public.

“He is indiscriminate in what he steals.

“He targets apparently wealthy houses, once inside he has no regard at all for any sentimental value there might be for the jewellery.

“It is time now, in my judgement, that he is locked up for a long time.”

Cuskin committed his first offence on August 4 this year at a house in Harrogate. He also stole £30 from a child’s wallet along with the jewellery.

His fingerprint was later found on a jewellery box which he left at the scene.

Cuskin broke into a house in Adel Lane in the early hours of August 13 while no one was in the property.

He forced open a garage door before stealing the jewellery, furniture and domestic appliances.

The antiques, worth around £5,000, were stolen from a house on Parkwood Avenue in September

Cuskin stole paintings and china ornaments from a house in Grimsby on September 3. Later the same day he stole a Porsche during a break-in at a cottage in Catterton, near York.

Police spotted Cuskin driving the vehicle later the same day in the Belle Isle area of Leeds.

He refused to stop but was caught after the vehicle was boxed in by police cars after a chase.

Cuskin, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to five offences of burglary, two of theft and one of dangerous driving.

Craig Sutcliffe, mitigating, said Cuskin accepted that he must go to prison for a long time.

He said Cuskin’s offending was linked to a long-standing addiction to drugs.

One of Cuskin’s victims described how she felt a sense of “despair and injustice” at having her home ransacked.

A victim statement was read to the court on behalf of the owner of the property in Adel by prosecutor Nigel Wray.

The woman described how she was on holiday when she received a text message from a family member that her home had been broken into.

She said: “I felt in a complete daze. I could not physically do anything. All I could think of was what we were going to find when we got home.”

“We felt complete dread and worry about what we would find.”

Describing the state of the property, she said: “The house had been totally ransacked and the burglars had removed everything.

“It seems nothing was sacred. I feel really angry and violated that someone could do such a thing.

“Everything my family and I own, we have worked incredibly hard for. Nothing has ever been handed to us on a plate.”

The court heard Cuskin also a took a fob watch which had belonged to the victim’s mother and had been left to her after she died of cancer.

She added: “I feel guilty that while this was in my care I did not keep it safe. Although they (burglars) they might assume that house contents insurance will repair the damage, this is not the case.”