Man sentenced to three years eight months following incident at Humberside Airport


A car thief who crashed through airport fencing and careered onto the runway, leaving an aircraft running low on fuel circling above, has been sentenced to 3 years 8 months in prison. Matthew Dobson has been sentenced at Grimsby Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to a number of driving offences and a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft in Grimsby.

On the morning of 4 August, Dobson, 40, stole a set of car keys to a Renault Clio from a house in Grimsby, and drove off leaving the shocked owner locked in her property.  He made off at speed, performing dangerous undertaking and overtaking manoeuvres in rush hour traffic, with police initially in pursuit.

Having evaded the police, he made his way to Humberside Airport, where he crashed through mesh fencing and onto the runway. Driving underneath the path of a helicopter which was in the process of taking off, he then accelerated to speeds of approximately 80 mph down the main runway, before coming to rest in a field.  Dobson then abandoned the car, and was later found lying down in the grass in a futile attempt to hide himself. When challenged, he said he was a farmer.

A KLM passenger flight was due to land as this incident was unfolding.  It was put in a holding pattern and had seven minutes left to divert to a different airfield to ensure it had enough fuel left to land somewhere safely.

Jeremy Evans, Crown Advocate, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside said:

"This bizarre crime spree was extraordinarily dangerous and reckless, putting many peoples' lives at risk.

"Matthew Dobson acted with utter impunity and demonstrated a complete and appalling lack of concern for his or anyone elses safety. He took it upon himself to commit this series of offences and it was sheer fortune that no tragedy occurred that day.

"I would like to thank the victims and witnesses who came forward to give evidence in this unprecedented case."

Notes to Editors

Matthew Dobson was charged, and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to:

  • Burglary
  • Dangerous driving
  • Aggravated vehicle taking
  • Driving whilst disqualified
  • Reckless endangerment of an aircraft