Plasterer who stole cooker hobs from new builds led police on high speed chase - The Leamington Observer

Plasterer who stole cooker hobs from new builds led police on high speed chase

A PLASTERER stole cooker hobs from two newly-built houses he passed on his way back from jobs – then led the police on a seven-mile chase when he saw them waiting for him near his home.

But Mark Driver has escaped being jailed after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the two burglaries and a charge of dangerous driving.

The 45-year-old, of Blenheim Crescent, Leamington, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for a year.

Prosecutor Rupert Jones said on December 22 a couple carrying out the development of five houses in Tredington visited the site to lock up for Christmas.

They saw Driver walking from the site to his car carrying a box. They asked what he was doing, and he claimed he had been plastering, but when asked what was in the box, he got into his car and drove off as they tried to stop him.

They found one of the houses on the plot had been broken into and in the kitchen an oven and a microwave had been pulled out and a £500 Neff hob, still in its box, had been stolen.

Then on January 20 Driver broke into a newly-built house in Oxhill, which was fully-fitted but awaiting decoration before being ready to be occupied.

A local resident noticed Driver’s car and saw him putting something into the boot before driving away, so made a note of the number and contacted the police.

That evening, having traced Driver through the number, police officers went to his home to speak to him.

He was not there, but they saw the car on the Sydenham Estate, and when they tried to stop him, Driver sped away leading them on a high speed chase towards Long Itchington.

There was a slight collision with a police car which had tried to intercept him before he reached the village where he turned into a dead end and got out of the car.

After Driver at first failed to comply with an order to put his hands on his head, he was threatened with a Taser, at which he raised his hands and was arrested.

When the police searched the garage at his home, they found a Neff hob and an extractor fan from the house in Oxhill.

In relation to the Tredington burglary, Driver, who was representing himself, said the first theft was a “spur-of-the-moment” action.

“I’ve ruined my life, more so with the dangerous driving. It’s my job, that’s why I didn’t stop. I’d had a drink and I feared I would lose my licence. That all led to me not stopping.”

He explained he worked as a sub-contract plasterer and needed to drive to jobs, and as a result of the interim driving ban he had already been given his income has dropped.

“Last year I earned 44,000. This year it’s more likely to be 20,000,” he said, adding that his family was likely to lose their privately rented home if he was unable to work at all.

Judge Anthony Potter told Driver: “While you might be able to excuse the first occasion as a moment of madness with Christmas approaching, the second event suggests a pattern.

“The second bad decision you made was choosing to flee from the police. The danger you posed was not just to other road-users, but to yourself.”



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