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Darren Tunstall jailed: Burglar led police on 95mph pursuit through the city

Posted on - 2nd March, 2016 - 10:13pm | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Crime, News, Preston City Centre
Darren Tunstall

Darren Tunstall

A burglar who drove through a 30mph zone in Preston at speeds of up to 95mph in a stolen high powered BMW has been jailed.

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Darren Tunstall, 48, was convicted of burglary and dangerous driving following a trial at Preston Crown Court.

The court heard a householder and his family were woken by the sound of their burglar alarm at their home in Cottam Lane, Ashton-on-Ribble, in October last year.

Tunstall, of Beckett Court in the city centre, had broken into the house through a small side window at around 3.45am and stolen the keys for their BMW X4, which was parked outside on the drive.

City streets turned into race track

But when the police were called to trace the vehicle, Tunstall – a dad-of-10 – gave chase at speeds of up to 95mph through the streets of Preston.

The police helicopter was mobilised and Tunstall was tracked down using the infra-red tracking.

Darren Tunstall

Darren Tunstall

He denied being responsible for the break in or taking the vehicle without consent but was convicted by the jury after an hour’s deliberations.

He claimed the mobility difficulties he has suffered since being injured in a road traffic accident in 1997 were too severe for him to have been able to commit the offence.

Shocking speeds

But Judge James Adkin, sentencing, said: “The householder believed there may have been two people involved due to the way the vehicles outside his house had been moved.

“He lived at the address with his wife and children and was angry that someone had broken into his home.

“You drove that car at quite shocking speeds throughout Preston.

“That was clearly highly dangerous driving in an attempt to evade the police. The police did track you down using infrared imaging on the helicopter. You were arrested and were carrying gloves and a duster.

“You did walk with a limp but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be out on the streets of Preston burgling houses and being involved in high speed car chases.”

Tunstall has a number of previous convictions but has not been to prison since 1999, the court heard.

Judge Adkin jailed Tunstall for three years and banned him from driving for 12 months upon his release.

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