Two masked burglars from Sheffield – including a former Sheffield United youngster – tried to escape police in a two-counties 140mph motorway chase.
An eagle-eyed resident noted the last three letters of the getaway car’s number pate as Luke Comer, aged 20, and 21-year-old Dale Mulligan aborted a house break-in at Mansfield.
Police in Nottinghamshire began pursuing the stolen Vauxhall Corsa which travelled on the wrong side of the road before Derbyshire police took up the chase as the car joined the M1.
Carl Fitch, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said the car went southbound at 100mph before leaving the motorway at Junction 28, near South Normanton, careering through two sets of red lights before rejoining the M1 northbound.
Comer and Mulligan then travelled at 140mph for ‘several miles’ before exiting at Junction 30 at Barlborough. They drove over a grass verge to avoid a police ‘stinger’ device.
Pursuit officers lost the car in Eckington, but a police helicopter was able to direct officers to them on the ground after the car was abandoned.
Comer and Mulligan were arrested but a third man escaped.
It emerged the Corsa had been stolen in Bramley, Rotherham, a week earlier and number plates cloned.
The break-in took place at a four-bedroom detached home in Quarry Bank, Mansfield, on Thursday, December 27, at 3am.
It is believed the trio were trying to steal the keys for a Volkswagen Golf on the driveway but the house alarm went off and they fled in the Corsa.
Comer, of Erskine Crescent, Arbourthorne, Sheffield, and Mulligan, of no fixed address, admitted burglary and aggravated vehicle taking. The court heard the pair have both previously been locked up for burglary and aggravated vehicle taking offences.
Mulligan asked for a further 10 house burglaries in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to be considered in which he stole £29,000 of property between December 13 and December 23.
Jailing the pair for five years each, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “It is clear you have become professional dwelling house burglars.”
He said of the car chase: “It is sheer good fortune somebody wasn’t killed as a result of that driving.”