Jail for Burnley car thief in m-way smash

Mark Hollins. (s)
Mark Hollins. (s)

An “egotistical” and prolific offender who burgled an occupied Burnley house, stole a car and then crashed it on the M65 has been locked up for 56 months.

Mark Hollins (36),of Cog Lane, Burnley, stole an iPad, two mobile phones, a handbag and keys, before making off with the Vauxhall Astra on the Tarren Grove driveway. The incident happened between 11-30pm on July 23rd and the early hours of July 24th.

Burnley Crown Court heard how the householder was woken at 2am by the police and informed that his £5,000 vehicle had been involved in a motorway accident.

Prosecuter Sarah Statham told how the collision happened at approximately 12-15am, when Hollins had driven into a vehicle from behind, shunting it into the central reservation. Hollins, who had been disqualified from driving in 1999, was said to have jumped out of his car, before running away from the scene.

The innocent driver had been driving his Skoda Octavia at 60mph. He had a passenger in his car at the time of the crash, and was left in “excrutiating pain”.

Three weeks after the incident he was still being in pain and was missing out financially, as he was unable to work. He found himself scared of driving on the motorway, and required physiotherapy sessions.

Hollins was arrested in August for the burglary, theft of vehicle and driving while disqualified – having been linked to the crimes from DNA found on the car’s airbag. Hollins had just been released from jail, and had been provided with a home by the police’s Revolution project.

Richard Taylor (defending), said: “This is a young man who left home at 17. His life has been ruined, and he would be the first to accept that, by drugs.”

Hollins’ previous convictions were said to include 11 instances of taking vehicles without consent, 11 instances of driving while disqualified, and one vehicle taking. He had 145 offences on record.

Her Honour Judge Jacqueline Beech said that she had to take into consideration aggravating features when issuing the sentence. She said that the defendant had a high chance of re-offending and said he was of “medium risk”.

She labelled Hollins “egotistical” and stated: “You are fortunate not to be facing an additional count of dangerous driving.

“You’ve expressed little remorse for committing the offences, although you do feel guilty about crashing into the other car. You are aware that you need support in relation to mental health issues. This court hopes that you take advantage of all the services available to you while you are in custody.”

Hollins was also given six points, and he remains banned from driving.