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Cops taser JCB thief in 'slowest police chase ever'

Surrey ne'er-do-well trundles to a cuffing

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A Surrey man who stole a JCB, provoked the "the slowest police chase ever", shrugged off a tasering and was cuffed only when the mechanical digger shed its tracks was earlier this week convicted of the vehicle's theft and dangerous driving, the Surrey Advertiser reports.

William Smith, 29, of Nutfield, made off with the JCB from a Worplesdon building site on 13 August last year, the paper reports. A local resident alerted police, who quickly dispatched an Armed Response Unit to the scene. One PC Goddard decided he could dispense with his pursuit vehicle, and gave chase on foot.

He told Guildford Crown Court: “It was probably going at about 10 or 15mph. I was able to keep pace at a fast jog. I shouted ‘Stop, police!’ through the open cab window, but the driver refused to pull over. He looked in my direction and then swerved the JCB towards me.”

After two more swerves at the pursuing officer, Smith copped a tasering for his trouble, but "recovered after less than three seconds". He then attempted to make off across a field, but the digger's tracks came off and he was found a short distance away "lying down in some mud".

When cautioned on theft and dangerous driving raps, he protested to police: "What do you expect, when he [PC Goddard] shot that thing [the taser] at me?"

Mike Roques, defending, explained to the jury that his client had indeed "been distracted by the policeman running alongside the JCB".

He said: “This man suddenly appeared, waving his arms about and shouting and then brandishing a bright yellow gun. I am certain that I would have found that a distraction.

“If the defendant had intended to cause injury to the officer running alongside him or the two cars behind then he easily could have done.”

The jury was unimpressed with this defence, and took just 30 minutes to find the low-speed perp guilty. Smith, who boasts 11 previous convictions for 19 offences, faces sentencing in March. The judge banned him from driving until the hearing, the Surrey Advertiser concludes. ®

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