Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

Moment thief steals ‘sparking’ quadbike which erupts into flames as he rides it

Watch the moment thief rides a quadbike that’s on fire

Shocking footage has shown the moment a stolen quadbike burst into flames – with the thief still riding it.

Steven Johnstone was lucky to survive after the vehicle was engulfed in flames – and will have plenty of time to contemplate his good fortune after being jailed for two-and-a-half years.

The 41-year-old, of Busfield Street, Bradford, broke into a garage on a farm in Teesdale shortly after midnight on October 11, last year, removing a high-value quad from inside.

Police were alerted and information were also passed from Ruralwatch members, who kept track of Johnstone as he headed out the area on the Yamaha Kodiak 700.

Details were also relayed to patrolling officers from Durham Roads & Armed Policing unit, which spotted the stationary bike and a red Astra in the middle of the A67, between Gainford and Piercebridge.

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Realising he had been spotted, Johnstone then sped away on the quad, triggering a police chase.

Officers followed as Johnstone drove the wrong way around a roundabout and on the wrong side of the road, hitting speeds of up to 70mph as sparks were seen coming from under the quad.

He continued to drive at speed, all the way to Darlington where the vehicle then caught alight, at which point he leapt off it, being detained near the River Skerne.

Officers then took him into custory and charged with with the theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a class B drug and receiving stolen goods.

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Johnstone appeared at Durham Crown Court yesterday (November 20), where he was sentenced to 30 months in prison and banned from driving for 27 months.

His co-accused, Metin Ucurcan and Jack Smith who were inside the Astra, were also arrested for their roles in the farm garage burglary.

Ucarcan has since been jailed for 37-months for the offence and a separate break in at a property in Darlington, last year.

Smith received a 21-month suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Neighbourhood Inspector Edward Turner said: “This was a highly organised burglary by a trio who had quite clearly planned to target the farm that day.

“Our Ruralwatch members were one step ahead however and tracked the gang’s movements, which allowed officers to locate the two vehicles involved.

“Ruralwatch members are invaluable and have once again shown that their dedication and vigilance helps us get results like this.

“I hope this sentence sends a clear message to criminals that our rural communities are not an easy target and we will continue to work closely with our local residents to keep these areas some of the safest places to live and work.”

Durham Police shared footage of the dramatic pursuit on X, formerly Twitter, as well as the moment of Johnstone’s arrest, at which point one officer tells him: “It’s absolutely astounding how stupid you have just been there.

“You are so lucky that did not blow you to smithereens.”

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