Gainsborough: Burglars are jailed after high speed police car chase which lasted over an hour

Two burglars who were caught after a high speed police chase across three counties were today, Friday 24th October, jailed for a combined total of ten years at Lincoln Crown Court.

John Grange-Smith
John Grange-Smith

Dale Middleton, 25, from Doncaster, and John Grange-Smith, 28, from Gainsborough, targeted four homes during a week long crime spree in Lincolnshire and North Nottinghamshire, the court heard.

The pair escaped on each occasion using a car stolen during the raids but were finally detained after writing off a £30,000 Land Rover Defender during a police pursuit which lasted for over an hour.

Nine patrol cars and the Nottinghamshire police helicopter were used to pursue the two men for over 40 miles after the stolen Land Rover was picked up by an ANPR camera just hours after the final burglary in East Ferry, Lincs.

Dale Middleton

Alistair Munt, prosecuting, said the police chase began in South Yorkshire and lasted over an hour as the pair travelled through Harworth, Tickhill, Oldcotes and Bawtry, before heading towards Gainsborough.

He said: “The pursuit lasted over an hour and went on for 40 miles.”

“At times it involved the Land Rover travelling at speeds in excess of 100mph, driving towards oncoming traffic and on two occasions reverse ramming a police patrol car.”

The pair were finally caught after Middleton, who was driving the Land Rover, lost control and overturned the vehicle as he repeatedly tried to ram a police car on a section of dual carriageway between Beckingham and Gainsborough.

Grange-Smith was trapped in the burning Land Rover and had to be freed by two brave police officers who went back in to the vehicle.

At the scene Middleton laughed and told police officers: “You had to ram me to stop me. Look at your car. I’ve written off a police car.”

The crime spree began on 23rd June when Grange-Smith hit a householder over the head with an iron bar as he attempted to burgle a house in High Street, Upton.

Mr Munt told the court Grange-Smith then joined Middleton, who had just been released from prison on licence, for a series of four burglaries between 28th June and 3rd July.

During the first burglary, on 28th June, property valued at over £8,000 was stolen from a four bedroom house in Ranskill, Notts.

Three days later, on 1st July, the pair escaped in a car stolen during a house burglary in Mattersey Thorpe, Notts.

Another car was stolen during a night time burglary at a three bedroom detached house in Bircotes, Notts, on the same night.

The two burglars were finally caught after stealing the Land Rover during a day time burglary at an isolated home in High Street, East Ferry, Lincs, on 3rd July.

Grange-Smith, of Richardson Rise, Gainsborough, was jailed for four years and three months.

He admitted four charges of burglary, four charges of theft, one charge of attempted burglary and a single charge of assault causing actual bodily harm between 23rd June and 3rd July.

He also admitted breaching a suspended sentence and asked for six other offences to be taken in to consideration.

Middleton, of no fixed address, was jailed for five years and nine months. He pleaded guilty to four charges of burglary, four charges of theft and one charge of dangerous driving between 28th June and 3rd July.

He also admitted a charge of Contempt of Court on 17th October and asked for 21 other offences to be taken in to consideration.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath told both men: “Together you committed four dwelling house burglaries.”

“Three of them at night when then occupiers were at home, and one in the daytime.”

“On each occasion you stole a vehicle from those premises, and in an attempt to escape the police having burgled the last premises there was then the chase of the Land Rover Defender.”