In the Media

Farm tractor in low-speed police chase

PUBLISHED August 24, 2012

John Davis pinched the £30,000 Massey Ferguson tractor from a yard in Sandhurst, Kent, before trundling off along the busy A21 road in the bright red farm vehicle.

Cops were alerted to the theft almost immediately after the owner - who had fitted a tracker device to the tractor - called 999.

A patrol car pulled alongside 23-year-old Mr Davis within a mile of where the tractor was stolen, but he refused to pull over when officers beckoned him to the side of the road.

Mr Davis, of Deal, Kent, trundled along the A21 through the villages of Hawkhurst and Lamberhurst with the police car on his tail - never reaching more than 30mph, the top speed of the tractor.

Prosecutor James Nichols told Sevenoaks JPs this week that police tried to stop the tractor, but decided not to try and force Mr Davis - who works as a groundsman - off the road after he refused to stop.

He said: "Police tried to stop the tractor, but the driver refused and continued to drive off." The court heard how the joyride was only brought to a slow end when Davis veered off the road at Paddock Wood - 19 miles from where he stole the tractor - on November 17 last year.

Mr Davis smashed through a gate and fence before grinding to a halt after crashing into a railway line. Davis pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and damaging the vehicle and was ordered to pay £500 to the owner of the tractor and £250 in court costs.

He was also ordered to complete 220 hours on unpaid work and banned from driving for a year