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Gang banged up after dramatic police chase

By BurtonMail.3520969.BurtonMail  |  Posted: May 22, 2013

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THREE thieves have been locked up for a total of 11 years and four months after stealing Christmas gifts and taking a van from a home in Swadlincote on a high speed police chase.

Darren Hackett, Francis Gilsenan and Daniel Sheridan broke into a home in Burton Road, Castle Gresley, at 4.40pm on December 8 last year before loading gifts into the owner’s VW van and driving off.

They took the presents and the van on a three-hour road trip from Swadlincote to Birmingham - but were cornered following the police pursuit.

The threesome, dubbed the ‘anti-santas’, had also scooped up presents from an address in Fazeley, before trying to grab more gifts from the home of a 77-year-old man in Sutton Coldfield.

The van was stopped on the A45 near Birmingham Airport when a pursuit – during which motorists had to swerve to avoid the van as 31-year-old Hackett weaved across lanes – ended with a police ‘stinger’ deflating the vehicle’s tyres.

Gift-wrapped presents were recovered and all three admitted three counts of burglary with Hackett also admitting dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

At Birmingham Crown Court, on Tuesday, Hackett, of Acocks Green, was jailed for five years while homeless Gilsenan, 28, and Sheridan, 20, from Tyseley were handed sentences of three years and two months.

West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Nick Barnes, said: “These were particularly cruel crimes: they stole Christmas presents like games consoles that were clearly destined for young children. They’ll now be spending several Christmases behind bars.

“An alert witness phoned the van’s reg plate through to police…that one piece of information was all we needed to quickly direct police units to the scene and it wasn’t long before one picked up the thieves’ getaway vehicle.

“Arresting officers did a great job to monitor the van, which was driving very erratically, and bring the pursuit to a safe conclusion without injury to other road users.”

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