A FARMER was threatened with death as two crooks robbed him of his £2,000 quad bike, a court was told.

Edwin Whittle had spotted the pair in the process of trying to steal the Yamaha machine, as he strimmed hedges near his Cliviger farm on July 18.

He had been verbally abused and told he would be killed when he approached the duo as they tried to detach a trailer from the bike.

One of the thieving pair had made off on the bike, but it was later abandoned and he was caught and arrested after another farmer, who had seen what had gone on, tailed him. His accomplice escaped.

Today, the culprit, 27-year-old Andrew McCafferty, a career criminal with almost 100 convictions, is starting a 40-month jail term. The prolific housebreaker, of Knowles Lane, Bradford, had admitted robbery and had committed it while on licence from a four-year prison term.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said Mr Whittle had parked up the quad bike near the Ram Inn pub and had gone to strim some hedges.

Shortly after, he spotted the two men. He went towards the pair and shouted. One of them who was trying to take off the trailer told him to stop where he was or he would be killed. Miss Statham said McCafferty was astride the bike as his accomplice shouted threats. Mr Whittle went nearer but stopped when the second man got a rake from the back of the trailer and brandished it. The man managed to remove the trailer and the defendant made off on the bike.

James Heyworth, for McCafferty, said he accepted he was a prolific burglar. He had one assault on his record in 2003.

Sentencing, Recorder Guy Mathieson said McCafferty had a ‘dreadful record’. He said: “You are only 27 and it’s page after page. You, it seems to me, are somebody for whom dishonesty and crime are a lifestyle choice.”