Bungling burglar had to be rescued by police after crashing into wall

By Michael Upton | 21/04/2017

Bungling burglar had to be rescued by police after crashing into wall

A BUNGLING burglar who stole a £5,000 quad bike from a farm needed to be rescued by the police after crashing his getaway van into a wall and becoming trapped.

Colin Freer (34) had driven over 100 miles from his home in Masbrough to the Yorkshire Dales where he and an accomplice broke into an outbuilding on a farm in Hawes, York Crown Court heard.

They loaded the bike into the back of a van and drove away, but their getaway plan became unstuck when Freer drove into a dry-stone wall and became trapped in the van by the stolen quad, which had been shunted forward in the crash.

The hapless crook had no option but to sit and wait for police to arrive, said Ms Stephanie Hancock, prosecuting.

The emergency services were soon on the scene after being alerted by the victim and his neighbour.

Firefighters and ambulance staff freed the thief from his van before taking him to hospital.

Freer, of James Street, was discharged later that morning when he was arrested and charged with burglary, driving while disqualified and having no insurance. 

He admitted the offences and was due to be sentenced last week but sentencing was deferred until July for him to attempt to comply with an existing curfew and rehabilitation order. 

Ms Hancock said Freer and his sidekick - an unnamed man who fled the crash scene before police arrived - had driven more than 100 miles from his home in Rotherham to Hawes in Wensleydale in the early hours of November 15 last year.

They broke into the farm at about 3am by forcing the lock on the main gates and got into the outbuilding by removing a padlock, she said.

A neighbour heard the sound of the quad being loaded into the van and alerted victim Martin Coates, Ms Hancock said.

Freer’s van was later discovered on the B6255 near Dent, 14 miles from the scene of the burglary. 

“He had collided with a dry-stone wall which had)turned the Transit van on its side,” said Ms Hancock.

“The quad bike had been at the back of the van and trapped the defendant in the driver’s seat.”

Freer told police he had only recently been released from prison and had hooked up with a friend who told him he knew where they could steal a quad bike.

The court heard that Freer, of Masbrough, had 66 previous convictions for 155 offences, half of them thefts and many for burglary. 

He had 14 previous convictions for driving while disqualified and was on prison licence at the time of the Hawes raid after serving time for burglary in his home patch.

Since the quad theft, jobless Freer had received a suspended prison sentence for burglary and a community order for shoplifting, the court heard.

Defence barrister Mr Nicholas Rooke conceded that Freer had a “horrendous” record, but asked for sentence to be deferred for three months to see how his client fared with his current probation, curfew and rehabilitation order.

Recorder Mark McKone agreed to defer sentence until July 14 on condition that Freer did not commit further offences, complied with his current court orders and provided evidence that he had been looking for work. 

Any breach of these conditions meant jail was likely, he said.



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