Get­away van driver jailed

Halifax Courier - - This Week In Court -

A fa­ther-of-three has been jailed af­ter a gang of thieves trav­elled from Leeds to Brig­house to steal valu­able plant ma­chin­ery from a con­struc­tion site.

Johnathon McCor­mack, 31, agreed to drive the stolen Ford Tran­sit van used by the gang in the raid last month, but he was locked up for two years fol­low­ing a po­lice pur­suit around streets in Brig­house.

Brad­ford Crown Court heard that a se­cu­rity guard alerted the po­lice af­ter he saw the van and a Re­nault car drive to­wards the site on River Street.

Pros­e­cu­tor Joanne Shep­herd said the guard heard the sound of plant ma­chin­ery be­ing started and a road roller was driven into the rear of the van.

She said two po­lice of­fi­cers in a ve­hi­cle re­sponded to the call and be­came in­volved in the pur­suit of the van which reached speeds of be­tween 40 and 50mph as McCor­mack tried to get away.

The court heard that at one point the of­fi­cers tried to block the road with their ve­hi­cle, but the van was driven onto the foot­path to get round.

On Toothill Bank the van had black smoke com­ing from its ex­haust as it strug­gled to get up the steep hill and Miss Shep­herd said the van also struck a bound­ary wall as it headed to­wards the Bridge public house.

When the van fi­nally stopped McCor­mack was chased by one of the of­fi­cers and he even­tu­ally gave him­self up.

At a hear­ing be­fore Calderdale mag­is­trates McCor­mack, of Crossheath Grove, Leeds, pleaded guilty to steal­ing the road roller, danger­ous driv­ing and driv­ing while dis­qual­i­fied.

The crown court heard that he had pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for dis­hon­esty and driv­ing while dis­qual­i­fied and the Recorder of Brad­ford Judge Roger Thomas QC said the theft from the site on March 21 “smacked of pro­fes­sional crime”.

He said the van had been stolen the month be­fore, it was on false plates and those in­volved had trav­elled from Leeds to Brig­house to steal the road roller.

The court heard that McCor­mack had had prob­lems with al­co­hol and a lack of work and he said he had been of­fered £50 to drive the van that evening.

Judge Thomas jailed McCor­mack for 18 months for the theft of­fence, but added a fur­ther six months for the mo­tor­ing of­fences.

He also banned McCor­mack from driv­ing for a fur­ther 18 months and said he would have to pass an ex­tended retest be­fore he could law­fully drive again.

Johnathon McCor­mack

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