10 cars in Cannock hit as thief on rampage, court told

A thief went on a smash-and-grab spree, breaking into 10 cars across Cannock in the space of a few hours leaving a trail of destruction, a court heard.

Kenneth Bateman, from Willenhall, is alleged to have targeted a car park in the town centre and nearby supermarkets and businesses on September 28, snatching satnavs, jewellery, bags, iPods, stereos, clothes and £1,000 of fishing tackle.

Car owners were left stunned and angry to find their vehicles smashed open while they were at work, shopping or at the gym, Cannock Magistrates Court heard.

Bateman was reported to police by driving instructor Terence Love who recognised the 35-year-old at the wheel of a stolen red Metro behind him in a traffic queue. Michael Taylor, prosecuting, said Bateman had been sweating profusely at the time.

As the instructor was in the passenger seat giving a lesson, he told his pupil to follow Bateman on to The Orbital pub car park in Eastern Way where he rang 999.

The prosecution claim Bateman broke into a blue Peugeot there and stole a handbag and a coat before continuing his rampage of theft and vandalism.

Police found the Metro on the Premier Business Park in Walsall two days later, with many of the items reported as stolen from the burgled cars still inside.

Bateman was arrested at his home in Bloxwich Road North, Willenhall, and taken into custody.

Other car parks targeted included Chase Leisure Centre on Stafford Road.

Bateman denies stealing the Metro, driving whilst disqualified, having no insurance, nine charges of theft and one of attempted theft.

His trial was adjourned until November 30. He was remanded in custody.