Chesterfield burglar and car thief jailed for seven years for 10 home break-ins

A prolific Chesterfield burglar responsible for up to nine burglaries in the town sped off in Chesterfield homeowners’ cars at speeds of 90mph and 100 mph during nighttime house break-ins.

By Ben McVay
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 5:00 pm

Darren Jest, 42, was pursued by police as he drove at speeds “in excess of 100mph” in a car stolen during a late-night heist in Walton, Derby Crown Court heard.

During a string of 10 burglaries between February and June Darren Jest, 42, made off with six cars and on one occasion was seen racing away from a street veering into oncoming traffic while overtaking.

Career burglar Jest – described by a judge as having a “vast record” – had 14 previous burglary convictions and had been in and out of jail since the 1990s.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Darren Jest was jailed for seven years

Many of serial thief Jest’s victims were at home in bed when he stole car keys left nearby by homeowners - throwing bricks and in one case a garden fork through windows or wedging open letter boxes.

Jailing Jest for seven years today Judge Jonathan Bennett told him: “You seem to have a predilection for breaking into people’s houses and taking car keys and motorcars.

"Often driving them and doing so dangerously as in two situations in this case.

"Your record is an appalling record – you have 14 previous convictions for burglaries of dwelling houses.”

Prosecutor Gurdial Singh described how Jest was seen speeding away from one street in a stolen car on one occasion.

He said: “He was seen doing speeds of up to 90mph in a 30mph zone driving on the wrong side of the road, overtaking vehicles at speed - causing them to break.

"Travelling at 70mph in a 20mh zone with cars parked on both sides of the road.”

During another car heist from a property at Tunstall Green in Walton police – who caught up with Jest thanks to tracker in the stolen vehicle – pursued him as he drove at speeds “in excess of 100mph” on roads with 30mph and 40mph speeds limits.

After failed attempts to ram the car police finally arrested Jest when a police helicopter was deployed.

Bungling burglar Jest’s DNA was found on a jacket left inside a vehicle which he dumped after a Whittington Hill break-in on June 23.

While Mr Singh told how following his arrest and recall to prison the defendant was caught hiding a mobile phone with four sim cards linking him to the crimes “between his buttocks”.

The court heard during one Chesterfield break-in at Springfield Avenue in June – a homeowner arrived home to find his house “ransacked” and “turned upside-down” and spent two days clearing up the debris.

While during another burglary in Ashgate a householder’s mother’s wedding ring was taken.

Jest, of no fixed abode, admitted 10 burglaries, four counts of taking a vehicle without consent, two counts of aggravated vehicle taking and one count of theft.

He was banned from driving for 54 months.

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor: Support your Derbyshire Times by becoming a digital subscriber. You will see 70 per cent fewer ads on stories, meaning faster load times and an overall enhanced user experience. Click here to subscribe