A MAN has been jailed for two years and three months for his involvement in the organised theft of high value vehicles and heavy machinery worth more than £100,000.

Jake Mawson, 21, was today sentenced at Bradford Crown Court for a string of offences that Judge Colin Burn said “painted a picture” of his role in the sophisticated stealing and delivery of vans and commercial plant.

Prosecutor Jessica Heggie said the first offence was handling stolen goods committed on October 26, 2018.

Mawson, of Swarcliffe Drive, Swarcliffe, Leeds, was stopped by the police at the wheel of a stolen Mercedes Sprinter van on false plates. The vehicle, worth up to £8,000, had been taken from an address in Leeds the previous month.

Weeks later, on November 22, he sped off from the police in Bradford at 3am in another stolen Mercedes van on false plates.

Mawson led the officers on a pursuit of up to four miles at speeds that reached 95mph, Miss Heggie said.

He clipped the kerb on Tyersal Lane, went straight through a Give Way junction and reached speeds of 75mph on Wakefield Road. He did 84mph on Tong Street and then accelerated to 95mph in a 40 zone.

A stinger device was deployed but Mawson went on to drive the wrong way down the bypass before crashing through a fence into a field.

The police helicopter and a police dog tracked him after he fled on foot.

He was found hiding in woodland, the court was told.

While on bail for dangerous driving, Mawson and a gang of accomplices carried out a £97,000 overnight theft at Wilby Tree Surgeons in Ecton, Northampton, on May 23 this year.

He was caught on CCTV driving a Land Rover towing a stolen trailer with a digger on it, also raided from the business’s compound.

The thieves damaged a fencing panel to get into the premises and took almost £100,000 worth of heavy machinery, including a grinder and a wood chipper.

Police chased Mawson, who swerved in front of their vehicles while towing the digger. He went the wrong way round a roundabout, almost tipping the trailer over.

Soon afterwards, he crashed and ran off but he was chased and apprehended.

He pleaded guilty to dishonestly handling the stolen Sprinter van, dangerous driving and theft.

In mitigation, it was said that he was a “foot soldier” in the criminal enterprise rather than heading up the operation. He was immature and had fallen in with older and more sophisticated criminals.

He had been remanded in custody for a month and had found it a harrowing experience.

Mawson was jailed for a total of 27 months and banned from driving for 25 months.