A man has been jailed after stealing a JCB from a Taylor Woodrow site

A man has been jailed after stealing a JCB from a Taylor Woodrow site and trying to evade a police pursuit.

Gareth Twigg, 23, of Maltby in Yorkshire, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to stealing the digger from a Taylor Woodrow site in Rugby, Warwickshire, in July.

According to the Sheffield Star, Twigg hopped on the digger and drove it straight through the site’s perimeter fence. Police were immediately informed and they tracked the thief down after he was spotted chugging through the centre of Clifton-on-Dumsmore village.

A dramatic police chase then ensued, during which Twigg was seen talking on his mobile phone as he drove, before he finally jumped off the JCB while it was still moving. Brave police officers then rushed to get onboard the runaway vehicle, successfully bringing it under control and preventing it from trundling to catastrophe.

Twigg pleaded guilty to stealing the £30,000 digger, as well as to damaging the fence and to dangerous driving. He was handed the nine-month prison sentence and an 18-month driving ban at Warwick Crown Court.

During his defence he said he had been approached by travellers in Maltby and asked if he wanted to make some money driving, although he only had his provisional licence. He agreed, not initially knowing what it was he was to drive, before being taken by car to the building site and told to drive the digger out of the compound and to follow the car.

Judge Griffith-Jones told Twigg: “This is valuable equipment which is being stolen, although I have no doubt you were a front-line stooge on behalf of others.

“But we move on to something which in reality is more serious still, because you went on to a public road without any proficiency in how to drive this, and you were on the phone when the police saw you.

“Then you jumped off the slow-moving but large piece of machinery and put at risk any car which may have been coming in the opposite direction and the police officers who felt duty-bound to jump on board to stop it.”