A CHESTERFIELD couple watched on CCTV as a £13,000 tipper truck was rammed through gates at their business premises and driven away.
Marcus and Jane Jones, owners of the Scania lorry, had alarm and CCTV systems linking the business to their home.
They saw two men inside the premises of Mann-Jones, a road surfacing company on Broombank industrial estate, at 9.15pm on May 25.
“The tipper was reversed into gates, smashing them off their hinges, and it demolished a wall in the yard and smashed into a pick-up truck, causing £7,000 damage to that vehicle,” prosecutor Helen Griffiths told town magistrates.
“Police spotted the tipper lorry being driven along the A61 by a man wearing a high-visibility jacket and followed it. It went through a red traffic light and eventually stopped.”
Driver Jamie Finch (24), of Leicester, was alone in the truck. Its ignition was damaged.
“He said he had never been to Chesterfield before. Three men had offered him £100 cash to drive a Land-Rover back to Leicester.
“A man drove the tipper out of the compound and then he took over. He said he hadn’t driven one before and he did not stop initially because he did not know how to stop it,” said Mrs Griffiths.
She added: “Mrs Jones said her husband recently had a stroke brought on by previous break-ins and this incident had caused more stress and upset for the family.”
Finch admitted charges of theft and driving without insurance and a licence. He had 12 previous convictions for dishonesty.
Magistrates decided their sentencing powers were insufficient and committed the case to be dealt with by a judge at Derby Crown Court on July 22.
He was very much out of his depth in this matter and the experience has scared him an awful lot,” said his solicitor, David Rhodes.
“He wasn’t being offered any work by an agency and he was desperate. He was approached and it was a chance of making some quick money.”
Mr Rhodes said the gang looked at various vehicles and Finch realised he was not going to be driving a Land-Rover, but he was “scared of a beating” if he did not co-operate.
“He has since been visited by three masked men at his property and he has received violent threats. He is the only member of the group left to carry the can,” added Mr Rhodes.