Theft led to major police pursuit

editorial image

A LAND-ROVER stolen from outside a Ribble Valley pub was later at the centre of a huge police pursuit.

Blackburn magistrates heard the vehicle evaded two “stingers” – devices used to puncture tyres in a controlled way – laid out near to junction 3 of the M65, before turning round and heading back towards Burnley.

It was driven towards police vehicles as they tried to overtake and then forced its way off the motorway at junction 8 as police tried to keep it on the road

Two police cars were damaged by the tyre puncturing device but another eventually brought the Land-Rover to a halt when it was deployed in Burnley.

Adam Craig Bullen (25), of Middlesex Avenue, Burnley, pleaded guilty to unauthorised vehicle taking aggravated by dangerous driving and driving without insurance. He was committed on bail to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on April 24th.

Mr Eddie Harrison (prosecuting) said the owner of the Land-Rover was working at The Eagle and Child in Hurst Green. He had left the keys in his jacket when he went into the pub for a cup of tea and when he returned at 7-15 p.m. the Land-Rover had gone.

The vehicle was seen on the M65 being driven by Bullen at 8-50 p.m. He avoided stingers by driving on the hard shoulder and then came off the motorway at junction 3 and straight back on heading towards Burnley.

“During the police pursuit as officers tried to force him to stop he accelerated and swerved towards the police vehicles causing them to take evasive action,” said Mr Harrison. “He was taking serious risks of causing damage or injury.”

Mr Mark Williams (defending) said Bullen was not responsible for taking the vehicle and told police he had been paid £100 to drive it from one place to another.