Extra jail time given to on-the-run thief

A prolific thief from the Wigan area who fled from prison has been given a further six-month prison sentence.

Friday, 17th November 2017, 1:29 pm
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 8:42 pm
Lee Leatherbarrow

Police issued an appeal for assistance back in July after Lee Leatherbarrow, 27, failed to return to Kirkham Prison. He was said to have distinctive tattoo of a frog on his arm.

Leatherbarrow, who has links to both the Ashton-in-Makerfield and Newton-le-Willows areas, was serving a five-year term for conspiracy to burgle and steal vehicles at the time.

The 27-year-old, who absconded from his room at Kirkham, was eventually arrested in the Wigan area on October 11 after spending three months on the run.

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His gang was involved in driving off with a number of Audi, BMW and Ford Focus ST cars, collectively valued at more than £1.7m, in a spree carried out between January and April 2015.

Fellow conspirators Alfred Adams, 38, and Luke Price, 25, both said to be of no fixed address, were given 40-month and 32-month prison sentences at the same hearing.

Detectives in Warrington arrested Leatherbarrow and two accomplices over a string of break-ins, which occurred across north Cheshire.

Police say vehicles were said to have been stolen to order by the crew. Officers worked alongside colleagues from the Greater Manchester and Merseyside forces to crack the case.

Some of the cars involved were said to be keyless entry and police built up evidence against the trio after analysing a raft of mobile phone records. Leatherbarrow was jailed at Chester

Crown Court in February 2016 after pleading guilty to the burglary and car theft plots, and aggravated vehicle taking.

He was also handed a £1.7million confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Leatherbarrow appeared before Judge Richard Gioserano at Bolton on Wednesday and admitted to an offence of escaping from lawful custody, in relation to his Kirkham disappearance, and was jailed for six months.

Prison chiefs at Kirkham made four separate appeals for inmates who absconded during July.

These included a convicted burglar and a drug dealer serving a five-year sentence.