‘Bad week’ ended with cleaner quitting job and taking off in works van

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A stressed-out cleaner quit his job and then drove a works van to the West Midlands to seek solace from his partner, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how Daniel Whillock (40) was arrested by police when he was stopped in the vehicle on his way back on the M5. Whillock, who is now on benefits and receiving mental health care, had had a lot of pressures that had got on top of him when he set off from Colne in the Peugeot Partner Van.

The defendant, of Phillips Lane, Colne, admitted taking a vehicle without consent between February 4th and 5th and no licence and no insurance. He was bailed until March 17th for a pre-sentence report.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson told the court before Whillock took the van, he was working for Unique Clean in Colne and the offence could be seen as a breach of trust.

The defendant had worked there for two or three years and employees had a group messaging application and would contact each other. The prosecutor continued: “He became aggressive towards another member of staff and was told to calm down by a director of the company. He replied ‘I quit.’”

Mr Robinson said the day after, Whillock took the van and drove to the Midlands. It was reported to the police and he was arrested. The prosecutor added: “The defendant said he had had a bad week, had issues in his personal life and wasn’t thinking straight.”

Catherine Fell (defending) said Whillock had been on a zero hours contract at the firm and worked as and when required. He had had a lot of pressures.