A MAN with a tow-truck tried to steal a woman’s brand-new £18,000 BMW car after it had to be abandoned in last December’s snow, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
Police officers on patrol helping drivers in difficulty caught Mark Leivers, of Irwin Drive, Hempshill Vale, Bulwell red-handed.
The bungling 24-year-old had dropped his winch-operating remote control in the snow. His target, a valuable BMW 1-series, had been abandoned on the Annesley bypass.
A judge told Leivers, who pleaded guilty to attempted theft: “This was looting. It was a despicable activity, preying upon the unfortuate circumstances of others.”
The officers were out at about 8.45 pm when they saw what looked like three men trying to load a car on to a truck. They stopped to see if they could assist.
But when Leivers was unable to say where the car keys were or where he was taking the vehicle, all three men were arrested.
The other two were soon released when it became clear they had been unwittingly recruited.
Leivers claimed he was recovering the car for a man called Dean, who had asked him to do so. But the registered owner, when contacted, said she had not given anyone permission to move the vehicle.
Leivers eventually admitted he wanted money for Christmas and would have sold the alloy wheels, said Jonathan Straw (prosecuting).
Leivers had recently bought a tow-truck and hoped to start a business, said his barrister, Digby Johnson.
“The attempt to steal was farcical,” added Mr Johnson. “It was so inept, he dropped the remote control.” Leivers now had employment.
Judge James Sampson told Leivers the vehicle was of such high value that an insurer would have had to pay for the loss.
“Despite your lack of recent convictions, this crosses the custody threshold,” said Judge Sampson. “What saves you is your guilty plea. You can think yourself lucky.”
The sentence was six months’ prison, suspended for a year, plus 150 hours’ community work and £800 court costs.