Express & Star

Car thief told police 'I've nicked it ain't I' after leading officer on chase around village

A car thief told a police officer he led him on a pursuit because 'he'd nicked it' has been banned from driving and given a big court bill.

Ryan Hathaway was sentenced at Cannock Magistrates Court on Thursday

Cannock Magistrates Court heard how a police officer was on patrol in Essington at 3am on August 18 last year when he saw a green Mini with no rear numberplate being driven at speed along High Hill.

The Mini was being driven by Ryan Hathaway, who was sentenced on Thursday after admitting theft of a motor vehicle, failing to stop for police, driving dangerously, driving without insurance and without a full licence.

After seeing him take a sharp right onto Wolverhampton Road without indicating, the officer switched his blue lights on. Despite this, Hathaway failed to stop and at one point tried to go the wrong way round a roundabout until roadworks stopped him, forcing him to reverse.

Eventually the vehicle ran out of power and came to a halt, where it was found to have no front numberplate either, while the chassis number had also been removed.

Mrs Karen Wright, prosecuting, said the officer saw Hathaway messing about down the side of the car and got his police dog ready in case the defendant tried to run away. However, the defendant got out of the car and was arrested.

When asked by the officer why he didn't stop, Hathaway replied: "Because I've nicked it, ain't I," with the officer noting that exposed wiring could be seen along with a damaged dashboard.

Mrs Wright said the car had been reported stolen earlier in the month after the owner had taken it to Darlaston MOT Centre on August 4.

Hathaway had not taken it from the garage. Instead, he had "seen it parked on the street but not at the location where the victim had taken it for the MOT" and decided to drive it away, the court heard.

The prosecutor added that Hathaway's reasoning for messing about down the side was that he was trying to open the door handle as he was not familiar with how to open the door of a Mini, and he wasn't trying to conceal anything.

"He didn't know who it belonged to and he didn't provide any details about who had stolen it," she continued, adding that the 45-year-old also denied the chassis number, saying the vehicle was already the condition police found it in when it eventually ground to a halt.

Mitigating, Mr Nigel Ford said that despite admitting driving dangerously, Hathaway was doing "30 in a 30 at 3am" in a car that had not got much power.

He also said the defendant was "keen to say he was not the original person who took the car and caused the damage".

Nevertheless, magistrates told Hathaway, of Latches Close, Darlaston, to pay £500 compensation towards the Mini owner's £1,300 repair bill.

He was also given a 12-month community order with 25 rehabilitation activity days and fined £100.

Hathaway must also pay £185 costs and a £114 surcharge, leaving him needing to pay £899 in total.

The provisional licence holder was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and must take an extended retest at the end of his ban.