Leeds thug caught with more than 5,000 bottles of wine stolen from back of lorry

A thug who was caught driving a van containing more than 5,000 bottles of wine stolen from the back of a lorry has been jailed. Jacob Windle also led police on a chase in a stolen van and was caught with three stolen motorbikes. The 24-year-old was locked up for two-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to a series of offences.

David Ward, prosecuting, said a Mercedes Sprinter van was stolen from outside a business premises on Dewsbury Road, Ossett, in November 2018. Mr Ward said the van was involved in a raid on a HGV which was parked overnight near junction 21 of the M1 in Leicestershire in the early hours on December 6, 2018. Thieves slashed through a side curtain as the driver was asleep and helped themselves to the cargo of cases of wine.

Leeds Crown Court heard a total of 5,736 bottles were loaded onto the Mercedes van. Windle was stopped by police in the northbound carriageway of the M1 later that day. Windle was arrested but continued to offend while on bail.

He was spotted driving another stolen Mercedes van on false number plate on the M62 in June last year. Windle failed to stop for police officers and drove the wrong was along the westbound slip road near to junction 32 of the motorway at Castleford. Other vehicles had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

He was found in possession of cannabis when he was arrested. Three stolen motorbikes worth around GBP7,000 were found in the garden of Windle’s home when police went to the address on September 4, 2018. The prosecutor said the vehicles had been stolen a month earlier in Bradford and Leeds.

Windle told officers he had bought the vehicles from a man who brought them into his street on truck. He claimed he had bought them because they had been offered to him at a cheap. He said he did not think it was suspicious despite the motorbikes not coming with any documentation.

Windle, of Acre Road, Middleton, Leeds, pleaded guilty to three offences of handling stolen goods, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, taking a vehicle without consent and possessing and possessing a class B drug. He has previous convictions for drug and vehicle offences. Graham O’Sullivan, mitigating, said: “He is determined to turn over a new leaf in his life.”

Describing the theft of the wine from the lorry, Judge Simon Batiste said: “It had all the hallmarks of professional criminality.”

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