Eastleach quadbike thieves caught thanks to tracker
6:00pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
THIEVES were caught with a £6,500 quadbike soon after it was stolen - thanks to a tracker device and a police helicopter, a court has heard.
Shortly after the quadbike had been stolen from Charles Phillips' 1,700 acre farm at Eastleach its position was signalled by the tracker device.
A police chopper was scrambled and homed in on the tracker signal. The crew then spotted the quadbike on the back of a stolen Toyota Hilux vehicle not far away from the farm, Gloucester crown court was told.
The helicopter crew directed a squad car to the area and caught up with it as it turned into a muddy field.
All four occupants of the vehicle got out of the passenger side door, making it impossible to say who was driving at the time, but all were arrested.
Appearing at Gloucester Crown Court were Joseph Butler, 21, of The Willows, Sandhurst, Gloucester, James Buckland, 23, of Hay Lane, Wroughton, Dean Potter, 23, of The Willows, Sandhurst, and Wesley Williams, 23, of Glynmill Caravan site in Merthyr Tydfil.
All four pleaded guilty to dishonestly handling the stolen quadbike on January 22 this year.
Judge William Hart sentenced Butler, Buckland and Williams to 40 weeks jail, suspended for 18months, and 180 hours of unpaid work.
Potter, who had breached two suspended jail sentences for theft and for dangerous driving, was jailed for a total of 70 weeks, which included 30 weeks for the previous offences.
The court heard that the quadbike had been chained up inside a locked building but the thieves had used bolt cutters to gain entry.
In doing so they triggered an alarm which alerted staff.
The police were called as well as the firm which had equipped the 4X4 vehicle with a tracker device.
Richard Elliott, for Butler, told the court that the defendants were 'stooges' being paid £50 each to transport the quadbike.