The leader of a gang responsible for a series of robberies in the Midlands, Ben Westwood, has been jailed for 9 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal, and dangerous driving, according to The Independent.
Westwood was arrested after a high-speed chase in a stolen Audi RS5 which reached speeds of up to 180mph and led to police halting their pursuit when they couldn’t keep up.
West Midlands Police said that on January 13 Westwood fled from a petrol station burglary in the £85,000 car.
A spokesman said: “Police gave chase but were forced to halt their pursuit as the car reached a staggering 180 miles per hour.
“The police helicopter took up the chase as they doubled back at junction 13 and attempted to exit at junction 12.
“A police stinger didn’t deter them as they did a U-turn on the exit slip road and went back on to the M6 the wrong way, doing a handbrake turn to set them southbound again to leave at Hilton Park services.”
Westwood and a passenger, Gregory Simpson, were arrested when police dogs found them after abandoning the vehicle at a block of flats.
The arrests ended a spate of robberies lasting six months.
The remaining four gang members were all imprisoned for conspiracy to steal; Gregory Simpson was sentenced for four years, Ramesh Sharma for three, Stephen Green four years, six months, and Luke Watkins for three years, with an added nine months for dangerous driving.
Nigel Baker QC told Westwood during sentencing: “You have an appalling record for a man of 33. You are no stranger to burglaries of this type.
“I have come to the conclusion that the time has come to increase the level of sentencing that you have previously had.”
Of Westwood’s driving, he said: “This was an atrocious piece of dangerous driving. You drove through the suburban streets of Wolverhampton at speeds with which the police car could not keep up.
“You were driving on the wrong side of the road. There was a moment in that pursuit when the helicopter thought that your intention was to out-run the helicopter.
“It was the most appalling piece of driving.”
In a display of driving normally reserved for Hollywood movies, the message is that it doesn’t matter how fast the car or reckless the driver; police have the assets to catch the perpetrator.
For more information on dangerous driving, visit www.contactlaw.co.uk/dangerous-driving.html