TWO burglars led police on a pursuit which forced a man to leap head first into a hedge to avoid being run over.
William Evans, 18, from Wrexham and Leon Roberts, 20, from near Oswestry, had broken into six outbuildings in the grounds of isolated homes and farms in North Powys, stealing chainsaws, a £7,000 motorcycle and leaf blowers before being chased by the police helicopter and a police car.
At Mold Crown Court yesterday Roberts, of Cherry Tree Drive, St Martin’s, was sentenced to two years youth detention amid emotional scenes in court.
He admitted six burglaries together with motoring offences including careless driving.
Evans, of Bryn Mally Park, Pentre Broughton, who admitted the six burglaries was told he had escaped going into custody by a hair’s breadth.
He received an 18-month suspended sentence with supervision and a future skills course.
The court was told he had learning difficulties, would be vulnerable in custody, and he had no previous convictions for dishonesty.
They admitted burglaries at a shed in Llanerfyl on August 28; a workshop in Llanerfyl on August 28; a garage in Llanerfyl on August 28; a garage in Llanwddyn on August 26; a cart house in Llanfyllin on August 26; and a workshop in Llanerfyl between August 25 and 29.
Judge Philip Hughes, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said both were involved “as a team” using a Transit van to go around isolated farm buildings to “help yourselves to expensive equipment.”
He said they were planned, commercial burglaries and they were in it for profit.
Roberts was the driver and he had made things worse for himself by driving at speed to try and get away from the police.
He had ignored a roadworks sign and someone had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.
Roberts later failed to stop.
He said he accepted that Evans was in a different position to Roberts.
The judge ordered that the Transit van used in the offences should be confiscated.
Karl Scholz, prosecuting, said reports had been made in the Llanerfyl, Llanwddyn and Llanfyllin areas of burglaries in the days leading up to August 28.
A white Ford Transit van had been mentioned as a suspicious vehicle, so officers were keeping up high visibility patrols in the area.
An officer saw the van and the force helicopter was launched to assist in tracking the offenders down. A blue light and siren pursuit followed.
A police officer positioned a police car to block the Transit van in a country lane between Llanerfyl and Talerddig near Welshpool but Roberts forced his way past, smashing a wing mirror as it went.
A surveyor and a colleague were working at roadworks but the defendant ignored them and one of them had to jump out of the way.
Roberts, the driver, got out and ran across two fields and a river when he was caught by an officer and dog. He was told to remain calm but showed aggression so was bitten onto the arm by the dog.
Evans got out of the passenger side and ran away briefly before crying and asking not to be hurt.
Julian Goode, for Roberts, said his client had built up a drugs debt and foolishly embarked on criminality.
He married five months ago, his wife was pregnant and he was concerned about the effect on her if he was jailed. Mr Goode suggested a suspended sentence.
Laura Nash, for Evans, said he left school at 13, had always worked, had learning difficulties and ADHD which would leave him vulnerable in custody.
He was terrified of jail and his family were devastated at the position he found himself in.