JCB thief drove through a fence to escape - court told

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A low loader vehicle with a stolen JCB on board was driven through a fence to try and evade police, a court heard.

The £20,000 mini digger was taken from Kier Construction at Millennia Park on Thornes Road but the thief took a wrong turn down a dead end street.

Prosecutor Diane Gomersall told how the Transit turned further into the industrial estate soon after seeing police at 8.40pm on July 5 last year.

It increased speed but the driver didn’t realise it was a dead end with a fence.

But Mrs Gomersall said the driver drove directly at the fence and smashed through it. Then two men got out and fled in different directions.

The driver was arrested after a chase but Michael Dean Forrest, 28, initially made no comment to all questions.

Wakefield Magistrates’ Court heard how the Transit had been taken from a company in Bradford last year and its tax disc and registration mark didn’t match.

On Wednesday Forrest, 28, pleaded guilty to theft of the digger and to receiving stolen goods, which was the van.

The court heard he had recently been jailed for three years for attempted burglary.

Philip Goldberg, mitigating, said he was surprised the digger case hadn’t been dealt with at the same time.

District Judge Adrian Lower, jailing Forrest for a year, said: “I will give you credit for pleading guilty and will take into account you have been waiting to know what was going to happen.

“There doesn’t seem to be any reason why they shouldn’t have been at the crown Court when you were sentenced to three years.”