Van theft man jailed

A BURGLAR has been jailed after he used a forklift truck to steal a van from a mill complex.

Kirklees Magistrates’ Court heard that Peter Schofield, 21, was caught by a tracker belonging to his mother.

The owner of the vehicle continued the chase using his own tracking device before police cornered him outside an address in Dewsbury, where he was stood next to the van drinking a cup of tea.

Andy Wills, prosecuting, told the court Schofield had borrowed his mum’s mobile phone before leaving her address at around 7pm last Friday.

He said: “She has an app on her phone and can track it.

“He was in the Batley area, driving past Brooklands Nightclub on Bradford Road.”

His suspicious family then watched online as the phone tracker travelled to Hi-Q Beds in the Alexandra Mills complex, where witnesses heard a commotion.

Schofield, and another man who is still wanted by police, smashed a window and took a safe and the keys to a Mercedes work van.

Mr Wills said: “The defendant was seen on CCTV trying to get the van out of the complex but the gates were locked.

“He used a forklift truck and rammed the gates, forcing them open.”

The court heard Schofield’s family knew the owner of the premises and phoned him.

He then activated the tracker he had attached to the van.

The van headed onto Howard Street in Batley, where it mounted the kerb and drove around the owner’s vehicle as he tried to stop him in his own car.

It then narrowly missed some parked cars before colliding with a wall on Low Road in Dewsbury.

Mr Wills said: “Officers attended at Beckett Walk in Dewsbury Moor where the defendant was now outside the van, drinking a cup of tea.

“The keys to the van were inside his jacket and he said: ‘You’ve got me on handling but not burglary.”

Schofield, of Moorside Road in Dewsbury Moor, pleaded guilty to burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and using a vehicle without a licence or insurance.

The incident happened while he was on a 22-week suspended sentence imposed for a non-dwelling burglary.

His solicitor described the crime as unsophisticated and said others had led him down the wrong path.

Magistrates activated the suspended sentence and added a further 32 weeks for the new offences, totaling 54 weeks in custody.

Schofield was also banned from driving for 24 months.

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