Three men have been jailed after a vehicle theft spree, that ended in a 40 minute pursuit by police through Stafforshire.
On Friday 8 January, a white Ford Transit van was stolen from the Milford area of Stafford. It was later found abandoned in Brocton with over £6,000 worth of tools stolen from it.
Later that day a Ford Transit van was stolen from Upper Green, and was later found abandoned in the Codsall area. Numerous parcels had been stolen, and were later recovered and returned to the owners.
A red Citroen Relay was stolen from outside The Post Office on Pool Lane in Brocton, that was fitted with a tracking device that allowed officers to trasck it to Tixall.
When officers arrived they witnessed a white Vauxhall Vivaro van displaying false registration plates)leaving the area at speed. Officers attempted to stop the van, and a pursuit ensued.
They followed them for around 40 minutes and travelled through Stafford, Great Haywood, Grindley and Ingestre, before finally stopping at Hixon Airfield.
Officers on the ground were supported by the force helicopter, while police dog Jax was on hand to detain one offender at the location.
The Vauxhall Vivaro had been stolen the day before from Market Drayton in Shropshire.
The trio were due to stand trial yesterday but pleaded guilty, and were subsequently sentenced at Stafford Crown Court.
Craig Mason, aged 43, currently serving a sentence following a recall to prison for an unrelated offence, was convicted of 1x drive whilst disqualified; 1x use a motor vehicle on a road/public place without third party insurance; 1x aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and theft from motor vehicle. He has been jailed for 15 months and was disqualified from driving for three years.
Scott Parker, aged 36, of Emerson Road, Wolverhampton, was convicted of 1x aggravated vehicle taking (sentenced to six months imprisonment) and 2x theft from motor vehicle offences (six month imprisonment for each offence). The sentences will run concurrently. Parker was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
Gregory Simpson, aged 30, of Hatherton Gardens, Wolverhampton, was convicted of 1x aggravated vehicle taking (six months imprisonment) and 2x theft from motor vehicle offences (six month imprisonment for each offence). The sentences will run concurrently. Simpson was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
PC Craig Beardsley, from Staffordshire Police’s Road Crime Team, was one of the officers involved in the pursuit. He said: "These three men are career criminals, who travel across the county to commit crime.
"They have no regard for the victims and as seen in the footage, they are prepared to damage police vehicles to aid their escape.
"Cross border criminality will not be tolerated and Staffordshire Police takes this type of offending very seriously.
"I would like to reassure the public that all police officers who were involved in this pursuit are highly trained and experienced.
"The risk to the public is constantly assessed and evaluated and we endeavour to bring any pursuit to a safe conclusion at the earliest opportunity.
"I welcome the sentencing from Stafford Crown Court and hope the custodial sentences brings satisfaction to our victims of crime."