Steven Regan, 34, admitted several offences including dangerous driving, theft and criminal damage and stealing 16 other plant vehicles over the year.
The man from Leeds, who left a trail of destruction captured on a police helicopter video, was revealed in Nottingham Crown Court to be a member of a plant theft gang.
The court was told Regan had stolen the telehandler from a Barratt Homes building site in Forest Town, Mansfield.
The judge said he had driven like a man posessed hitting cemetery headstones, walls and hedges.
Police eventually caught Regan when the JCB suffered a flat tyre and came to a halt.