A teenager “used” by serious crooks to drive away a haul of stolen boilers after a £50,000 raid on a mill unit is behind bars for 30 months.
Kyle Ellis (19) had sparked a police chase through the streets of Burnley as he tried to escape with the loot, stolen after a professional gang forced their way into the premises with cutting equipment.
The tyres of the van he was at the wheel of were eventually punctured by a stinger, but Ellis carried on for another two miles on the wheel rims.
He was eventually stopped after officers boxed him in using three vehicles, which were all damaged by the defendant.
A court had been told how Ellis had been asked by the gang to drive the vehicle away from Springvale Mill on Waterside Road, Haslingden – and they then made off on foot so they wouldn’t be caught with the boilers.
The attack on the unit had been disastrous for victim Paul Yates (62) who ran an online central heating boiler supply business, as his entire stock was taken and he was not insured.
The defendant, of Melville Street, Burnley, admitted dangerous driving, burglary at the mill and theft of boilers on February 5th, no driving licence and no insurance.
He was also disqualified for two years and must take an extended test.
Sentencing, Recorder Stephen Riordan, QC, said: “You were probably used by criminals who were older and more sophisticated.”
Prosecutor Andrew Long said a gang of seven men used cutting equipment to force their way into the mill. They broke the remaining CCTV, which had recorded their movements over several hours.
Police recovered boilers and other stolen goods worth £11,000 when he was finally halted.
Mark Williams (defending at the lower court) had said Ellis had a relatively limited record and the majority of offences had been committed over the last couple of months.
He added: “I think it’s fair to say he has got completely out of his depth.”