Drug-plagued South Yorkshire burglar felt so bad he handed himself in to the police

A drug-plagued burglar gave himself up to the police after he had an attack of conscience following a raid at a family’s home.

By Jon Cooper
Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:25 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:25 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard on May 5 how serial offender Darren Steelyard, aged 48 and of Doncaster, burgled a home while a husband and wife and their child were in bed.

Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting, told the hearing the family had gone to bed when the wife heard a noise and the following morning she found her handbag with her purse with cash and four bank cards had been stolen.

Ms Hollis said: “The complainant heard a bang and woke her husband to see if he had noticed anything and he had not. She went back to sleep.

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Pictured is Darren Steelyard, aged 48, of Plantation Close, Askern, Doncaster, who was sentenced to 30 months of custody after he pleaded guilty to a dwelling house burglary and to producing class B drug cannabis after 46 cannabis plants were found at his home.

"The following morning she noticed muddy footprints on the doormat inside the kitchen and she was unable to find her handbag.”

Steelyard handed himself in just over a month later, according to Ms Hollis, and he told officers he was responsible for the burglary and that he also had 46 cannabis plants at his home.

The defendant, who has 55 offences to his name, including burglaries, pleaded guilty to the burglary which happened on February 6 and he also admitted producing class B drug cannabis after officers discovered cannabis plants in a tent within a bedroom at his home.

Steelyard told police he had entered the property on Mayfield Terrace and had stolen the handbag and he had used the bank cards about five times to buy cigarettes and alcohol.

He added that he had used the money from the burglary to purchase heroin and crack-cocaine and he had been growing a cannabis crop for personal use and to sell on.

Cheryl Dudley, defending, said Steelyard was a prolific offender but he had been getting homeless support and was on a methadone prescription to help his drug addiction but as soon as that was taken away he began to deteriorate.

Ms Dudley added: “He was taken off methadone in September, last year, and it would take until December for his lifestyle to deteriorate and for him to start using heroin again and he knows where that leads.

"He resorted to previous behaviour and taking on the serious offence of dwelling house burglary and he tells me that troubled him and that is why he volunteered at the police station.

"He understands the impact this has had upon the victim and in particular the family that were burgled.”

Judge Michael Slater told Steelyard, of Plantation Close, at Askern, Doncaster: “You are now 48 years of age with an extensive record that dates back to 1989. During the course of that time you have committed many dwelling house burglaries and received significant sentences.”

However, he added: “You handed yourself in on March 20 and admitted the offence of burglary and indeed producing the cannabis. Offences that otherwise may well have remained undetected and to my mind that was a positive aspect of your behaviour.”

Judge Slater who sentenced Steelyard to 30 months of custody told him: “I hope upon your release you can resume the efforts of rehabilitation that you attempted over the last few years.”

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