Police had to use ‘stinger’ to catch burglary gang

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A YOUNG man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after a court heard he was part of a gang who burgled a house and stole the owner’s car.

Mold Crown Court heard a police chase followed which only came to an end after officers used a stringer device to deflate the tyres of the stolen vehicle.

Matthew Mackenzie, 21, of Gwenfro, Wrexham, was told by the judge it was time the public was given ‘a proper rest’ from his criminal activities.

Yesterday he changed his pleas and admitted burglary at Friars Mews in Bangor-on-Dee on October 18 where ignition keys, two rings, a television and a stereo system were stolen along with a Vauxhall Insignia from the driveway outside.

He also admitted aggravated vehicle taking and driving the vehicle dangerously on the A525 at Bangor on Dee and Marchwiel.

The court heard police had been making observations as part of an operation following a spate of such burglaries.

Judge Niclas Parry said there were four aggravating features to the case.

He had broken into someone’s home late at night while the owners were in bed.

The potential for confrontation was very real. High value items including a car were taken. And the chase put people in danger, particularly the police who were chasing him.

“This was a blue light police chase. You knew full well what you were doing,” the judge told him.

Mackenzie, said the judge, had a poor criminal record which included convictions for burglary and vehicle taking.

The court heard police received a report that people were burgling the house at about 4am.

They came up behind the stolen vehicle and Mackenzie was behind the wheel.
He refused to stop and accelerated at speeds of up to 80mph, sometimes on the wrong side of the road, in damp conditions.

The stinger was deployed and Mackenzie turned into Marchwiel Cricket Club.

The car was abandoned and all the occupants fled, but an officer concentrated on the driver and recognised him.

Mackenzie, who had previous convictions for 33 offences, was arrested a couple of weeks later but made no comment in interview. In a prepared statement he said it was a case of mistaken identity.

Further charges against him and others had previously been dropped.

Myles Wilson, defending, said Mackenzie deserved some credit for changing his plea and accepting his responsibility on the day of his trial.

In addition to the 30 month sentence Mackenzie was banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended driving test.

See full story in the Leader

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