Digger chase ends in a hole for teenager

CURIOSITY and a boyish prank led an aspiring heavy vehicle driver to go joyriding in a JCB digger, a court heard.Wayne McGeorge along with three friends tried to start a JCB with a screwdriver causing £400 damage then successfully drove another digger 40 yards before fleeing from police.

CURIOSITY and a boyish prank led an aspiring heavy vehicle driver to go joyriding in a JCB digger, a court heard.

Wayne McGeorge along with three friends tried to start a JCB with a screwdriver causing £400 damage then successfully drove another digger 40 yards before fleeing from police.

A 25-minute police chase on foot through open fields in Rendlesham ensued until all four were caught.

McGeorge, 18, who hopes to start a course at Otley College to learn how to drive heavy vehicles appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court on Tuesday . He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and criminal damage. The other three had previously received cautions.

Police were called to Suffolk Drive, Rendlesham on January 19, where they found four men on a building site and a digger with its engine running and lights flashing.

The police officers shouted for the foursome to stop but the men ran off. The police chased them over open fields and farmland for 25 minutes before catching up with them and arresting them.

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It was later discovered that the men had tried to start a JCB digger with a screwdriver which damaged the ignition. The group managed to start another digger with a set of keys found on the ground, which belonged to another vehicle. This digger was driven along a track in the building site until it hit a perimeter fence in the sewage compound.

Gareth Davies, prosecuting, said a police officer who interviewed McGeorge, of Redwald Road, Rendlesham, felt the former Farlingaye High School and Suffolk College student did not understand the seriousness of the situation.

Ian Persaud, mitigating, said: "This was a boyish prank that went wrong.

"There is no idea of covertness or secrecy here," as the crime was committed in daylight at 2.15pm.

"There are four boys involved, three of them were cautioned and Mr McGeorge found himself before the court, I find that a little unfair, but here he is.

"They simply walked in to the building site, the first vehicle they came across was the digger that was not driven - another friend did try to.

"The other two were encouraging them and being extremely boisterous. They then went to the digger truck and we hear that Mr McGeorge and another friend tried to start the vehicle. Mr McGeorge started it.

"That vehicle was driven approximately 40 yards. Mr McGeorge said he felt confident driving it as he has driven a bus on private land, that is why he drove it."

Mr Persaud added that there was no intention to steal and that the men were leaving the site when the police arrived.

McGeorge was given an 80 hours community punishment order and told to pay compensation of £150.

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