Car crook spared jail again

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A car crook spared jail after two police chases got behind the wheel while banned for the offences, a court heard.

Father-of-two Paul Hartley (27) panicked and ran off after officers spotted him in the Volkswagen Golf on New Hall Street in Burnley, but was later caught.

He claimed he thought his two year ban was over and ran because he had had a drink. A breath-test later proved negative, the town’s magistrates were told.

Hartley had had problems with drink and drugs when in August 2014 he had taken his mother’s car.

He had almost mowed down children and later put himself in intensive care after the second of two police chases ended in a serious smash. But, he had walked free from crown court, after a judge heard he was a changed man from the shock of the crash.

Hartley, then 25, had stolen his mum Katherine Green’s Volkswagen Golf and she, worried he had taken illicit substances, had immediately shopped him to officers.

He had sped off from the family home in Burnley, driving, in his opinion, like a top rally driver.

Burnley Crown Court had earlier been told he nearly rammed a patrol car and the police helicopter had been scrambled and multiple patrols called out to try and stop him.

The escapade ended in a collision in an alley, after he had hit a parked car.

The hearing had been told how weeks later, while on bail and living in his Ford Fiesta, he crashed it down an embankment, after losing control and hitting a lamp post.

Police had to use crowbars to get to the defendant and his passenger. The car was full of stolen perfume and aftershave after a £2,000 raid on a pharmacy, in which the CCTV unit had been hurled into a river and the premises ransacked.

Hartley, who has a record for taking cars, was expecting to go to jail but instead got an opportunity from a judge.

Sentence was deferred to see if Hartley could keep his nose clean for six months, he did and in July 2015, he had received 14 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months’ supervision. He was banned for two years and was ordered to take an extended driving test.

The defendant, who now has a two-month-old baby, has kept his freedom again and has vowed to keep away from cars.

In the latest case, Hartley, of Thorn Street, Burnley, admitted driving while disqualified on Barden Lane and having no insurance, on March 18th. He was given a 12-month community order with 120 hours unpaid work and must pay an £85 victim surcharge.

The defendant, who is on employment and support allowance, was banned for a year.

Mr Geoff Ireland, defending, said: “The defendant deeply regrets his actions on that particular night. He assures the court he is going to leave motor vehicles well alone. He truly believed the disqualification was over. He paid £200 for the vehicle.”