A YOUNG car thief left a £40,000 trail of destruction during a 90-minute police chase across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
Ben Newey, aged 23, of Rotherham Road, Maltby, drove the wrong way around two roundabouts, sped the wrong way along the M1, ploughed across crops on three farms and then screeched along a railway line before abandoning a wrecked car on the train tracks.
He will serve 18 months after pleading guilty to seven charges, including aggravated vehicle taking, endangering railway passengers, three counts of criminal damage, and two previous counts of stealing cars.
His passenger, Joshua Marson, 18, of Rowan Rise, Maltby, walked free with a supervision order after pleading guilty to aggravated vehicle taking.
Sue Evans, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said the two men took a Land Rover Defender from the drive of Jack Wood in Matlock, Derbyshire, in the early hours of May 11 this year.
Police saw the car driving near Bolsover at 2.43am, and mounted a chase that lasted an hour and a half.
Panicking, Newey sped the wrong way around two roundabouts before joining the M1.
Ms Evans said: “He was in the first lane, undertaking vehicles travelling slower than him. He lost control and spun 180 degrees. However, he continued to drive south along the northbound carriageway.”
Newey turned across the oncoming traffic, going north again before joining the M18. He then left the motorway, zooming through fields of crops. He caused more than £7,000 of damage on farms in Laughton, Slade Hooton and Roche Abbey.
The Land Rover, pursued by a helicopter, drove on to the Maltby-to-Dinnington freight railway line before a wheel came off the car. Newey and Marson then abandoned it on the tracks.
Ms Evans said the incident cost the train network £32,000.
The court was told the £2,000 Land Rover wrecked by Newey had been Jack Wood’s ‘prized possession’.
Newey also admitted stealing two other Land Rovers in March and April. Iain Hillis, defending, said he ‘panicked’ when he realised the police were after him.
Marson was spared jail after the court heard he was paid £50 to travel to Matlock.