A DRIVER for a Doncaster motor dealer has been jailed after helping a crook make off in a £10,000 car.
Steven Hudson, who used his security clearance to obtain the ignition keys, later claimed he had been threatened with a gun to commit the crime at The Car Shop on White Rose Way.
The 51-year-old told police the unknown thief had also hinted his family might be hurt to coerce him into becoming an accomplice.
Hudson, of St James Street, Doncaster, was sentenced at Doncaster Crown Court to five months in prison after admitting the theft in July last year.
“It is accepted there was a level of coercion in this offence and he was acting under duress,” said prosecutor David Horne.
Hudson’s job at The Car Shop was to drive an advertising poster truck, so he had access to the secure cabinet were all vehicle ignition keys were kept.
Mr Horne said another employee was sitting outside a neighbouring hotel when he noticed a Volkswagen Eos being driven off the site by someone he didn’t recognise and he became suspicious.
When he returned to the showroom he checked a tracking system which showed Hudson had activated it to get the keys, and CCTV showed a man in a hoodie taking the Eos keys from him.
The car was never recovered - and Hudson’s record showed he had 30 previous convictions for theft.
Defence solicitor Karen Tunnacliffe said Hudson felt he was a victim because the other man, who was bigger than him, had followed him to work and told him, ‘I know where your boys live in Rossington. I’m going to get a car’.
Mrs Tunnacliffe said he was also shown what appeared to be a small handgun and was told he had to get a car for him.
“He accepts he should have sought assistance but he felt under pressure to do what this man said. Had he not been pressured he wouldn’t have acted in this way,” she said.
Judge Jacqueline Davies said the man who put Hudson under pressure was from the traveller community, and accepted Hudson was in fear of reprisals. “The courts will take a sympathetic view of your position,” she said.
But she added: “This was a serious case, you were in breach of trust, and I see no grounds for suspending the sentence.”