Teen stole van in ‘a moment of madness’

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A WIGAN teenager admitted he didn’t know what he was thinking when he stole a van and jumped a red light during a police chase.

James Cawley, of Greenfield Avenue, Ince, admitted taking a van without consent, as well as driving without due care and attention and failing to stop when asked by the police, when he appeared at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

The 18-year-old also pleaded guilty to driving with no insurance.

Alan Bakker, prosecuting, said that on April 1, a police officer was driving along Frog Lane, Wigan, when he saw a white van pull away from the junction at Prescott Street with its rear doors open.

He then saw two men waving frantically at him and was told that someone had stolen their Vauxhall van.

The police officer activated his siren and chased Cawley along Frog Lane.

As the officer pulled up at the side of him at traffic lights, he failed to stop and carried on to Springfield Road.

As Cawley got to the traffic lights in Walkden Avenue, it was on red, so he carried on, overtaking a stationary car, entering into the wrong lane, towards oncoming traffic.

He said: “He had no regard for other road users and narrowly avoided a collision with a car coming from Kenyon Road.

“When he got to Bridgeman Terrace he came to a stop and held his hands up as if to give himself up.

“When he was interviewed by police he said he saw the keys in the ignition and took the van.”

He added that Cawley had recently passed his driving test in Ireland and had previous convictions under the youth court.

Ged Frazer, defending, said: “It was a moment of madness. As Cawley was walking past he saw the keys in the ignition and temptation got the better of him. He saw an opportunity and took the van for a spin.”

When addressed by the chairman of the magistrates, Cawley said: ”It was a stupid mistake. I didn’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the van.”

The chairman reprimanded Cawley, saying: “It was a silly thing to do and was very dangerous,

“When you went through a red light, what did you think might happen?”

Cawley then replied: “I was nervous.”

He was given a 12-month community order, with 160 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £60 victim surcharge, £85 court costs and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.