The £14,000 Audi was left on an adjacent street to where Gary Pitten lived in Harehills, while the clothes matching what he was wearing when he got into the vehicle were found at his home. A trial date was even fixed, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Judge Ray Singh accused the 43-year-old “wasting everybody’s time”, so jailed him for 30 months after he finally admitted a charge of handling stolen goods.
Judge Singh said: “There were photos (from the CCTV) quite clearly of you being at the side of that vehicle and then entering that vehicle.
“You denied all involvement. No doubt you thought ‘let’s get this delayed a bit’, so you did. It took a significant amount of time to get a trial date because you pleaded not guilty. That’s your right, but I query why you did that.
"You were there at that car. You wasted everybody’s time, including the court’s.”
He described Pitten as a “seasoned criminal campaigner” with over 20 convictions for thefts, robbery, drug dealing and handling stolen goods.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said burglars had targeted a property in Barwick in Elmet in east Leeds in the early hours of January 5, last year. Entering through sliding patio doors, they took the keys to a BMW and the white Audi parked outside. By 8.30am, both cars had been left on St Wilfrid’s Drive in Harehills.
Pitten, who lives on nearby St Wilfrid’s Avenue, was caught on camera driving the Audi, but then getting out because of mechanical issues.
He was identified and arrested on January 17, but gave no comments during his police interview. Having finally admitted the charge of handling stolen goods, his barrister Craig Sutcliffe said in mitigation that Pitten had been going through the break up of a long-term relationship and had been drinking heavily at the time of the offence.
Pitten said he had been walking home intoxicated that night and was “approached and asked to assist” with the Audi.
Mr Sutcliffe said: “He was investigated for the burglary but no further action was taken. There’s no suggestion he was involved in the burglary.”