Jail for ‘menace’ car thief who tore round streets of Burnley high on drugs

JAILED: Aaron George (s)
JAILED: Aaron George (s)

A PROLIFIC thief who stole a friend’s car and tore round a residential area of Burnley while drunk and high on drugs has been jailed for 13 months.

Aaron George (22), who has been breaking the law for half of his life and has almost 200 convictions, had been drinking for more than 24 hours. He almost ran down some pedestrians, swerved all over the road, mounted kerbs and “burst out” of junctions, with police in pursuit, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told that, luckily, nobody was injured by his actions at the wheel of the potentially “lethal weapon” but a judge said George was a “menace” to society in that state and said he had to lock him up to protect the public.

George had finally abandoned the vehicle in a field. He was arrested and did not answer police questions. The defendant, father of a six-month-old child, had a long record of taking cars.

The defendant, of Towneley Street, Burnley, admitted aggravated vehicle taking and having no licence or insurance, on June 2nd. He was also banned from driving for three years. Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said that George took the Skoda Fabia from his friend Daniel Sturdy, after waking him up just after midnight, with a can in his hand, demanding a lift. Mr Sturdy had refused, so the defendant took the car keys.

Mr Sturdy, who called police, did not see his car again until it was found in a field in Stanhope Walk about 4am. A friend had called him to tell him about the car and when the pair went there, Mr Sturdy found the car damaged. The brakes had been burned out and he believed that about 60 miles had been put on the clock.

Miss Statham said that two police officers, in an unmarked vehicle, saw the defendant driving dangerously and picked up the car around 2-30am. They gave chase but lost it and there were no sightings of it between 2-45am and 4am. The officers had gone to the area where they believed George was and heard a screeching sound and an engine revving. They then saw the Skoda being driven “wildly” down Melrose Avenue.

The police saw George speed across junctions, mount kerbs and swerve all over the road, leaving a trail of black smoke.

The prosecutor said that the defendant was seen to shoot into Piccadilly Road and “narrowly missed colliding with some people”.

James Heyworth (defending) said that George had started offending when he was 11. “Nothing, nothing, has worked, not custody, not probation,” he said.

Mr Heyworth added that since 2008, the degree and seriousness of offending had reduced but added that George had a problem with alcohol.

“He does show some signs of maturity, in my submission, even though one has to look deep to find them.”

Sentencing, Recorder Simon Killeen told George: “This is an extremely serious offence, because when you get behind the wheel of a car, it’s in fact a lethal weapon. You did so when you were clearly unfit.”