Plant thief tries to outrun police car in JCB

Grant Prior 14 years ago

A plant thief tried to outrun police in a JCB digger stolen from a Taylor Woodrow site in Rugby, Warwickshire.

Warwick Crown Court heard how Gareth Twigg crashed through a compound fence, jumped out and made off on foot following a low-speed police chase.

The Sheffield Star reported that officers had to scramble on to the heavy machine as it trundled on to the offside of the road to bring it under control.

Twigg, aged 23, of Farquhar Road, Maltby, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to stealing the digger from the Taylor Woodrow site in July.

Twigg, who also admitted damaging the compound fence and dangerous driving, was banned from driving for 18 months.

Prosecutor Sarah Pedley said the project manager for work being carried out by Taylor Woodrow was at work when Twigg climbed into the cab of a £30,000 JCB digger.

He drove it straight through the fence of the firm’s compound and drove off.

Police were alerted and officers eventually spotted him after Twigg had gone through the centre of Clifton-on-Dunsmore village.

They put on their blue light to try to stop him but Twigg, who was on his mobile phone, continued for another 100 yards before jumping from the cab of the still-moving digger.

As he made off on foot, the heavy JCB kept going, drifting on to the offside of the road into the path of any oncoming traffic.

Police arrested Twigg who told them: “Someone dropped me off and put me up to it.”

He said he had been approached by some travellers in Maltby and asked if he wanted to make some money driving, and he agreed, not knowing at first what it was he was to drive.

Twigg, who only had a provisional licence, was taken in a car to the development in Rugby where he was told to drive the digger out of the compound and follow the car.

Paul Mytton, defending, said the digger was only moving slowly when Twigg jumped out.

But the Judge said breaking into sites and stealing heavy plant had become more common and needed deterring.

Judge Griffith-Jones told Twigg: “This is valuable equipment which is being stolen, although I have no doubt you were a front-line stooge on behalf of others.”

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