Wirral man jailed after stealing car and driving dangerously through streets with children walking home from school

A prolific offender who stole a car from a leisure centre and crashed it after being pursued by the police has been jailed.

Shaun Wilkinson, of Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead, stole the keys to a red Honda Civic and a mobile phone from a locker at the Waterworld Leisure and Activity Centre in Wrexham on Friday 17 June 2022.

The 28-year-old then used the keys to get into the car, which was parked outside the leisure centre, and drove off in it.

The owner discovered that her car, keys and phone had been stolen at around 2.10pm and called the police.

Officers looking for the vehicle spotted it in Chester at around 3.15pm.

They pursued the car into Ellesmere Port.

During the pursuit, a rucksack was thrown out of one of the vehicle’s windows.

Due to the dangerous manner in which the car was being driven and the presence of a significant number of children walking home from school, a decision was made to abort the pursuit in the Sutton Way area of Ellesmere Port for public safety reasons.

A short time later, officers located the Honda Civic in the Flatt Lane area of the town after it had crashed into a parked car.

Wilkinson had fled the crash scene on foot, without any shoes on.

One of the officers who had been pursuing him found him a short distance away.

He immediately recognised Wilkinson as the Honda driver and arrested him at around 4.10pm.

The phone Wilkinson had stolen was inside the car, and the rucksack that was thrown out of it was located by officers. It contained bolt cutters.

Whilst in custody Wilkinson failed a swab test for cocaine before refusing to provide a specimen of blood for laboratory analysis. Wilkinson also refused to answer any questions in custody.

Due to the strength of the evidence that officers gathered against him, including CCTV footage of the car and phone thefts, he was charged with numerous offences.

Wilkinson pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, going equipped for theft, theft of the car keys and mobile phone, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and without insurance and failing to provide a blood test for analysis.

He was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Monday 18 July 2022. Wilkinson was jailed for two years and banned from driving for three years. He also has to pay a £156 victim surcharge.

Inspector Anton Sullivan, who oversaw the investigation that was conducted by Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, said, “Shaun Wilkinson is a prolific offender who was banned from driving when he went on his crime spree that began in Wrexham, proceeded into Chester and Ellesmere Port and ended at one of our custody suites.

“The drug swipe he failed in custody also indicates that he was under the influence of cocaine that day.

“After breaking into a locker at the leisure centre in Wrexham and stealing a car, he endangered the lives of motorists and pedestrians by driving dangerously and at excess speed in a bid to evade capture.

“He eventually crashed into a parked car and was apprehended as he attempted to flee on foot.

“Thankfully, no-one was injured as a result of Wilkinson’s actions that day. The consequences of his offending could have been far worse.

“He is now back behind bars facing the consequences of his actions, and I hope that this case deters others from committing such offences.”

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