Man jailed for Cheshunt burglary and aggravated vehicle taking


Police pursued burglar Matthew Kirby around Cheshunt in a car he had stolen from outside a flat.

Kirby had taken the keys to the silver Peugeot 106 when he broke into the ground floor flat the previous day. He was spotted by officers behind the wheel and drove dangerously in an attempt to get away.

A DVD played at St Albans Crown Court on Thursday, 08 March 2012, showed him speeding over humps, going through red lights and driving the wrong way around a roundabout. Other drivers were forced to take evasive action during the six-minute pursuit before Kirby ended up at a dead end.

Edward Lewis, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said 21-year-old Kirby had broken into a ground floor flat in Rowlands Court, Clarendon Road, Cheshunt and stolen a laptop, passport, mobile phone and £20 on Monday, 21 November last year.

The victim returned from a walk at 7 o'clock at night to find a window wide open. He realised he had been burgled and called the police, but it was not until the next morning that he realised his car keys had been taken and his silver Peugeot 106 car had also been stolen. He called the police again and later that morning officers spotted the Peugeot, with two men inside, being driven along Churchgate Road. Blue flashing lights and sirens were activated but Kirby, who was driving, refused to stop.

The court was played a DVD shot from inside the officers' car as it followed the Peugeot along Flamstead End Road, Churchgate, going through a red light and then onto the A10. Kirby came off at Fairways and then went past the Brookfield Centre and onto Beeston Drive and Lower Meadow. Driving at over the speed limit, and overtaking when it was not safe, he went the wrong side of a roundabout and into Flamstead End Road again, before going onto Rosedale and into Wheatcroft, which is a dead end.

Kirby got out of the car but was arrested nearby. The passenger put his arms in the air and was arrested.

The burglary victim's passport, mobile phone and Sainsbury's work card were found at Kirby's address.

Kirby of Napier Court, Cheshunt pleaded guilty to the burglary on Monday, 21 November last year and the aggravated vehicle taking on 22 November. He had 11 previous court appearances for 31 offences, including three burglaries.

Carl Woolf, defending, said that since his arrest and remand in custody Kirby had been taking steps to get himself off hard drugs. He said he had developed an addiction after being kidnapped. He said when the police ordered him to stop he had panicked.

Judge Marie Catterson told him: "You drove dangerously for a good six-minutes - driving at silly speeds over speed humps."

She jailed him for a total of 32-months and banned him from driving for 2-years. She said it was up to Kirby to decide if he wanted to continue his attempts to get off drugs or waste his life in prison.

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