Man stole lorry after being ‘fed up’ waiting for a bus

Highgrove Beds, Spen Lane, Gomersal.
Highgrove Beds, Spen Lane, Gomersal.

A man who was fed up waiting for a bus, scaled a six-foot fence into a factory compound and stole a 7.5 ton lorry.

Police officers, who were called to Highgrove Beds in Spen Lane, pursued the lorry after Richard Henry rammed it through the gates on December 17.

Leeds Crown Court heard that a company director, who happened to be driving past, had spotted Henry sitting in the cab of the Mercedes lorry and yelled at him to get out.

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said Henry ignored him and another employee was summoned who also told him to get out.

Although Henry did briefly get out of the cab at one stage, he got in again and drove at the gate a number of times, at first gently trying to nudge them open but then more forcefully pushing at them.

By then police officers had arrived and everyone moved vehicles out of his way seconds before Henry pushed the gates aside.

One officer stayed at the scene to prevent accidents as the gates had been left lying across the main road, while another followed Henry who drove into two terraced streets colliding with two cars, before he then had to reverse.

The police officer also had to reverse to avoid being hit by the lorry and Henry then drove off through Cleckheaton before stopping voluntarily more than a mile away.

When arrested he refused to give a breath specimen. Interviewed the next day, he admitted he had been drinking and said he decided to scale the fence after waiting at a bus stop nearby. He said he had noticed the keys were inside.

He said he stopped when he “came to his senses” but did not provide a specimen because he knew he would be over the limit. Around £10,000 damage was caused to the gates, lorry and other vehicles.

Ashok Khullar representing Henry said he accepted he had a drink problem which had led to his separation from his wife although he was hoping to reconcile with her.

Henry, 43 of Moorside, Cleckheaton, admitted aggravated vehicle taking and failing to provide a specimen. He was given a 12 months prison sentence suspended for 12 months with supervision and a six months alcohol treatment requirement.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to pay £1,000 to the company.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said it was clear he accepted his recent domestic problems and the irresponsible behaviour on the night concerned were down to his drinking, and he hoped to tackle it with the help of the probation service.