Caught on camera: Christmas present thieves' dramatic police chase

This is the dramatic moment West Midlands Police put a stop to burglary gang who stole children's Christmas presents from under trees.

Video footage released this afternoon shows the crooks' stolen van swerving through traffic as it was pursued by police cars and the force's helicopter.

The pursuit ends with the van losing a tyre and police dogs cornering the raiders.

Darren Hackett, Francis Gilsenan and Daniel Sheridan broke into a house in Castle Gresley, near Burton-on-Trent, at 4.40pm on December 8 last year before loading gifts into the owner’s VW van and driving off.

Two hours later, they took presents from an address in Fazeley, Staffordshire, before trying to grab more gifts at 7.20pm from the home of a 77-year-old man in Heath Croft Road, Sutton Coldfield.

They tried to steal his car but were disturbed.

The dramatic chase began after the Transporter van's number plate was radioed across West Midlands Police units in the area after being spotted by a witness and police.

The chase ended on the A45 near Birmingham Airport the van driven by 31-year-old Hackett was hit by a police ‘stinger’, which deflated the tyres.

Gift-wrapped Christmas presents stuffed inside a duvet cover were recovered from the van.

The gang admitted three charges of burglary each, and Hackett also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified.

Hackett, of Pool Farm Road in Acocks Green, was jailed for five years, whilst Gilsenan, 28, of no fixed address, and Sheridan. 20, from Tyseley Lane in Tyseley were given three years and two months.

Det Sgt Nick Barnes said: “These were particularly cruel crimes: they stole Christmas presents like games consoles that were clearly destined for young children. They’ll now be spending several Christmases behind bars.

“An alert witness phoned the van’s reg plate through to police…that one piece of information was all we needed to quickly direct police units to the scene and it wasn’t long before one picked up the thieves’ getaway vehicle.

“Arresting officers did a great job to monitor the van, which was driving very erratically, and bring the pursuit to a safe conclusion without injury to other road users.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Caught on camera: Christmas present thieves' dramatic police chase"

English Exile


This offence took place early December.

Today is the 22 May.

Why has it taken so long to put these people away???

Jase Brittain

It's called a police investigation.


Perhaps it took that long to reach an outcome.


"They’ll now be spending several Christmases behind bars."

GOOD - the more the merrier. Slop out, scum.


Well done to the police for catching these heartless thieves who wanted to steal Christmas, but none of them will spend 'several Christmases behind bars' because very few convicted criminals actually serve their sentences in full.

They will serve half of the sentences or less, which means that one of the criminals might serve just two Christmases in prison while the other two will spend only one Christmas as guests of Her Majesty.

UKIP have vowed to put an end to the deception and mis-information surrounding prison sentences, and if elected UKIP will ensure that prisoners stay locked up as they should for the full term that they are given with no possibility of early release.