Farmer stopped horse box thieves in their tracks

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

When a farmer went out to tend to her lambing ewes near West Ayton she came across a neighbour’s horse box trailer hitched to a strange vehicle.

A short pursuit of the farmer’s vehicle by two others followed, ending when she turned cross-country into a local estate.

The events happened at around 5am on January 16 this year York Crown Court was told.

Jessica Strange, prosecuting, told how 40 minutes after the sighting, a 4x4 towing the horsebox, containing a stolen quad bike, was stopped by the police.

Behind the wheel was Steven Smith, 40, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, who told the police he had been offered cash in hand to drive to Manchester.

Smith appeared for sentencing on charges of theft of the trailer, theft of the quad and driving without insurance.

He also appeared from custody having failed to appear at a previous hearing before the York court.

Simon Revell, mitigating, said that two men had driven his client north, over the Humber Bridge and into an area he did not know.

He was told to drive the vehicle, hoping he would be told how to get home afterwards and having received no money before the police stopped him.

Telling Smith that his role had been that of “a mug”, Judge Shaun Spencer QC told him he was satisfied he had not been a prime mover in the operation.

Smith was sentenced to eight months jail, suspended for a year, 120 hours unpaid work and £328 compensation.