Josef Ziga, a 51-year-old resident of Leeds, has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison following his guilty plea for a burglary that took place in January. The sentencing was pronounced at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday 20 July.

The court revealed that Ziga employed a daring and audacious tactic to execute his criminal activity. He meticulously removed brickwork that separated his own property from an adjacent one, ingeniously gaining unauthorised access to the cellar area of the neighbouring house.

Between January 11 and January 16, Ziga repeatedly infiltrated the property, brazenly carrying out his thefts. During these covert visits, he cunningly pilfered various items, including power tools and hand tools, leaving the unsuspecting occupants unaware of his nefarious actions.

The burglary came to light when the rightful occupant discovered the missing property and promptly reported the incident to the Leeds District Police. Officers swiftly initiated an investigation, leading to Ziga’s subsequent arrest.

Despite being apprehended, Ziga resorted to denial tactics and attempted to shift blame onto an unidentified third party. However, the diligent officers, sceptical of his account and demeanour, were able to debunk his false claims.

The comprehensive investigative work carried out by the police not only established Ziga’s sole responsibility for the crime but also demonstrated the gravity of his breach of trust and violation of the sanctity of a neighbour’s home.

At Leeds Crown Court, Justice prevailed as Ziga was met with a firm judgment, receiving a three-year-six-month imprisonment term for his shameless and premeditated burglary.

Detective Sergeant Seb Horan of the Leeds District Crime Team, said: “This is a case in which the defendant has acted without shame.

“Not only has he tunnelled into a neighbour’s address and stolen from him, but he has then tried to blame other parties to avoid a prison sentence.

“The fact Ziga has pleaded guilty is a testament to the thorough efforts of the investigating officer, DC 597 Booth. His meticulous investigation was able to demolish Ziga’s claims, essentially leaving him with no option but to plead guilty.

He added: “Officers fully understand the concerns household burglary causes in communities and all reported offences are fully assessed for any investigative opportunities.

“We continue to urge anyone who has information about burglars operating in their area or witnesses suspicious behaviour on their streets to report it to their local NPT.

“Reports of burglaries in progress should always be made to 999 to allow us to get officers on scene as quickly as possible.”