COURT: Woman confronted three men attempting to steal caravan

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

A Chinley woman confronted three men who were about to drive off with her caravan, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.

Lauren MacDonald had been driving past her home address when she saw the men, who she did not know, near to her caravan parked on her driveway, just before 4pm on September 7, and initially thought nothing of it.

Jennifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said: “When Ms MacDonald drove past a short while later she saw the defendants were on her driveway.

“When she got out she challenged them. She saw their vehicle, a red Nissan Terrano hitched up to her caravan. She confronted them and they asked her what she was doing.

“When she told them she was the owner of the vehicle they unhitched the caravan and got into their car and left,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

Police were alerted and stopped the vehicle in Buxton, this time it had a different registration number.

John Joseph Ward, 19, and Lawrence Gerrard Ward, 43, of Camp Street, Salford, and another man, were arrested.

Cloned registration plates were recovered having been discarded on Long Hill and were forensically linked to the men, who were also found with two metal poles.

John Ward pleaded guilty to attempted theft and going equipped. He was given a 12-month community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement and 120 hours’ unpaid work. He must pay £220 prosecution costs and a £60 government surcharge.

Lawrence Ward admitted the same offences, as well as having no insurance and breaching a conditional discharge.

Jailing him for ten weeks, magistrate Eric Hilton said: “We see you played a significant role in this and there was a significant degree of planning. You travelled into this area and were driving a vehicle with false registration plates.”

Lawrence Ward must pay £80 on his release from custody.

Mike Sophocleous, defending, said John Ward had struggled since the loss of his father six years ago and was on medication for depression and smoked cannabis.

On the day of the offence, John Ward had awoken feeling spaced out and hadn’t known where they were going when he first got into the vehicle.

He said Lawrence Ward had a few previous convictions but urged magistrates to impose a community order.

While neither were currently working they also did not claim benefits, he explained: “They come from a travelling community and look after each other when people are in need.”