‘Nuisance’ jailed after stealing van fitted with tracker

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A MAN has been jailed after smashing windows at a house in Bulwell and then, while on bail, stealing a £30,000 van with a tracker device.

Heavy drinker Lee Nicholls, described by a judge as a ‘thorough nuisance,’ was first caught at a property on Ragdale Road.

A woman parking her car in mid-afternoon on Friday February 25 heard the sound of breaking glass, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

She looked over a fence and saw Nicholls (36), of no fixed address, apparently trying to climb into the house, said James Cleary (prosecuting).

Nicholls then went and sat down outside the rear door.

The woman called the police, who arrived to find Nicholls sitting in a chair inside the house with a dog.

A double-glazed window in an outer door had been smashed as well as a glazed window between the extension and the main part of the house.

Nicholls, who accepted drinking the majority of a three-litre bottle of cider, claimed he had gone to deliver a cheque for his partner.

He had waited in the garden for the owner to return but got bored and threw stones, not targetting anything in particular.

He then went inside to wait.

He admitted criminal damage and a string of offences a month later on Thursday March 31 while on bail.

That evening, three employees of the engineering and construction firm Balfour Beattie were staying at a guest house in West Bridgford.

They went out, leaving their works’ van there.

Nicholls broke into the property to take the van keys and drove off in the vehicle, although he had been drinking.

“A remote tracking system was activated at 9.37 pm showing the van had been driven away from the guest house,” said Mr Cleary.

A police officer on Radcliffe Road saw a van with no lights on and followed it for half a mile before it stalled.

Arrested for a second time, Nicholls was over the drink-drive limit and was found to have a satnav in one pocket and a steakknife in the other.

He admitted burglary, taking the van, possession of a blade, drink-driving and having no insurance, all while subject to a conditional discharge for a previous offence.

In mitigation it was said he had a drink problem and a partner five months’ pregnant.

It was accepted he had a ‘horrendous record.’

Judge James Sampson, jailing him for 18 months and banning him from driving for three years, told him: ‘It seems to me you are a thorough nuisance and society needs some respite from you.’