'No regard for the safety of others': Parcel van thief arrested in Dunelm car park in Leeds after dangerous city centre police chase

A man was arrested in the car park of a Leeds city centre retail firm following a dangerous police chase in a parcel van he stole from outside a house in Pudsey.

By Tony Gardner
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 11:45 am

Luke Thompson stole a Transit van from outside a house on Hillside Avenue as the driver was delivering a parcel to the property on March 1 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard the delivery driver left his keys inside the vehicle as he went drop off the parcel at 4.50pm.

He ran back to the van after hearing the ignition being started but saw Thompson driving it away.

Luke Thompson was arrested in the car park at Dunelm in Leeds after a police chase in a stolen parcel delivery van.

The van contained 80 parcels worth at least £500.

Danielle Gilmour, prosecuting, said police officers saw the defendant driving the van on false number plates four days later near to Armley Gyratory.

The officers followed the van to Holbeck where Thompson dropped off a passenger.

They signalled for Thompson to pull over on Domestic Street.

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The 32-year-old mounted grass verges as he drove away and headed along Whitehall Road towards Leeds city centre.

Thompson turned the vehicle around and continued to drive dangerously as he headed out of the city centre and entered the car park at Dunelm.

He ran from the van as police arrested a man from the passenger seat.

Thompson was also arrested a short time later as he hid behind vehicles in the car park.

He was twice the legal limit for cocaine when he was tested.

Thompson refused to comment in interview.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified.

At the time of the incident he was the subject of a suspended sentence order and was on bail in relation to other offences.

A probation officer told the court Thompson was suffering from mental health issues at the time after the death of a member of his family.

He was using cannabis and cocaine heavily at the time.

James Littlehales, mitigating, said Thompson had served time in prison for other matters since the incident.

Mr Littlehales said Thompson's partner is expecting their child.

He said his client had moved away from the Pudsey area and is determined to turn his life around.

The barrister added: "There has been a sea change in his attitude."

Thompson, now of Blakeridge Mill, Batley, was given a seven-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and was banned from driving for 30 months.

Judge Simon Phillips QC said: "You had no regard for the safety of other road users."