Man took stranger's car and drove to boat

By by Court Reporter Twitter: @iomnewspapers in Crime

A 42-year-old man from Union Mills drove off in a stranger’s car after the owner had left it with the engine running, a court has heard.

Lee Simon Crawley, of Snugborough Avenue, drove the car to the Sea Terminal where he was stopped trying to board a ferry to Heysham.

He pleaded guilty in court to taking a vehicle without consent, having no driving licence and having no insurance.

The bizarre incident was said to have occurred in Union Mills on January 13.

Prosecutor Marcus Benson told the court how, at 8.45am, the owner of the car was stood by his Volkswagen Golf in Snugborough Avenue.

He left the engine running to warm it up and said he went back inside the house to get his daughter for school.

He then said he heard the engine being revved and saw Crawley performing a three-point-turn in the car, mounting the kerb and driving off along Peel Road.

The owner said that he initially chased on foot but then called the police.

Police found the Golf in the Sea Terminal car park and CCTV footage there showed Crawley park it before trying to board a boat for Heysham.

He was arrested and said to police: ’I drove here. I left the keys in it. I didn’t crash it or wreck it.’

He admitted taking the car to get to the boat and said that he didn’t know who the vehicle belonged to.

The court heard that Crawley had a provisional licence which had expired in 2014.

Checks confirmed that he had no valid driving licence or insurance.

The owner confirmed to police that he was only person with permission to drive the vehicle.

Crawley’s last conviction was said to have been in 2014 for assault and being drunk and disorderly.

He was also convicted in 2011 of theft of a vehicle.

His advocate Dawn Jones asked for an adjournment to allow time for a probation report to be prepared.

Mrs Jones said: ’Mr Crawley is going through a difficult time at the moment. There was no intent to steal the car.

’He would say his intent was to remove the car out of the temptation of others. But that is perhaps more indication that he is going through a difficult time at the moment and has been struggling in the last few days.’

Deputy High Bailiff Jayne Hughes said that she was satisfied that her summary court powers would be sufficient for sentencing.

Mrs Hughes said that, while Crawley’s reason given in court for taking the car contradicted what he had said to police, it would not affect her sentencing.

The case was adjourned until March 21 at 10am, when Crawley will be sentenced after the probation report has been completed.

Bail was granted with conditions that he reside at his home address, attend probation meetings, and not leave the island.