The actions of a thief who stole a JCB and then drove it through a Nottinghamshire graveyard have been condemned as “appalling” by the policing inspector the area.
Steven Regan, 34, from Leeds, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday 3rd of October after admitting charges of dangerous driving, criminal damage, failing to stop and theft.
Regan, part of a gang which had targeted plant equipment, took the vehicle from a building site in Forest Town on Sunday 2 July. He then drove it along the A60 to Spion Kop when he realised he was being followed by a police officer.
He then left the road and embarked on a route across fields and then back onto the A60 before trying to escape through the cemetery at Church Warsop.
Headstones were destroyed as Regan drove through the cemetery in a bid to evade police. However, he continued for only a few more yards before he was forced to stop the vehicle and arrested.
Mansfield North Policing Inspector Mark Webster said: “What Regan has done in his bid to steal the JCB is to commit an appalling act of desecration.
“The damage will take some time to repair and will come at some cost. But there is also the deep distress felt by an entire community to be considered too.
“Regan was a determined thief with no consideration for anyone else. During his rampage he also broke down some heavy iron gates which could have caused serious injury to passing pedestrians. Fortunately there was no one who happened to be passing by.
“However, this was also an excellent piece of police work. Regan was followed – not pursued – on foot and by car, while also being tracked by the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire helicopter unit.
“Even when he came to a stop, he attempted to evade arrest, but our officers swiftly detained him.
”We are very pleased with the sentence, which clearly reflects not only Regan’s prolific offending but also the destruction he wreaked in a small rural community within a matter of minutes.”