A CROOK was caught red-handed driving a JCB digger in the early hours of the morning after it had been stolen from a farm in Leeds.
Suspicious police officers ordered Dean Thompson to pull over on Lower Thorpe, Robin Hood, after spotting him at 4.40am.
Thompson admitted to officers at the scene that he was not insured to drive it.
The 46-year-old was arrested later the same day, November 8 2012, after a report that the digger had been stolen from Home Farm, Methley.
Thompson was released on bail but was arrested on March 28 last year at the wheel a HGV he stole from a steel company in Scunthorpe.
Leeds Crown Court heard Thompson was more than three times the drink drive limit at the time.
David Lampitt, prosecuting, said Thompson managed to break through a security fence in order to get to the lorry around midnight. He was spotted by a security guard who raised the alarm and followed the stolen vehicle.
Police stopped Thompson as he made his way onto the M180. The casing from the vehicle’s locking system had been broken.
When interviewed about both incidents, Thompson, of Cheltenham Street, Armley, Leeds, said he had been paid by others to drive the vehicles. He pleaded guilty to theft, handling stolen goods, drink driving and having no insurance.
The court heard Thompson has previous convictions for drink-related offences and vehicle offences.
Michael Devlin, mitigating, said his client’s offending was related to drinking and he accepted that he would be jailed. He said: “He is determined to come out a better man.” Judge James Spencer, QC, jailed Thompson for 28 months. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.