It's well known that the Great Train Robbers used Land Rovers as their getaway vehicles to shift the loot but recently other criminals have taken a shine to the Solihull 4x4s.
Land Rover thefts rise in Derbyshire: A warning has been issued after the number of Discovery and Defender vehicles taken from the Alfreton, Chesterfield and Buxton areas increased dramatically in the last few weeks. Officers believe thieves are specifically targeting older vehicles, which may not have modern alarms or immobilisers, before selling them on abroad or dismantling them to be sold as spare parts. Community safety partnership Police Sergeant Mel Hagues said, "Crime levels are low in Derbyshire and we are only talking about a handful of vehicles but it is clear that a pattern is starting to emerge. In rural areas 4x4 vehicles are obviously a very important part of daily life and we are urging owners to take extra care."
Police say motorists can take simple steps to thwart the thieves by buying a disc-lock or making sure the engine is not left running when they are away from their vehicle. Drivers should also make sure they lock all doors, ensure no valuables are on show and, where possible, leave the vehicle in a locked garage and not in a dark isolated area.
Road Rage in Leominster: Police would like to speak to anyone who saw two 'road rage' incidents involving the same car in Leominster recently. The green Land Rover Discovery driver kept its headlights on full beam as he tailgaited a Mercedes on the A44 from Leominster to Steenbridge at around 8pm on Christmas Eve. He then overtook and cut up the Mercedes, causing it to mount the verge to avoid a collision. Front end damage was then caused when the Discovery driver pulled up and reversed into the Mercedes. Nobody was hurt and the Discovery driver drove off. Police believe that the same car was involved in a similar incident earlier in the day involving a white Transit van in Bargates. Anyone with any information can call PC Tony Shaw at Kington Police Station on 0300 333 3000.
Road Rage in Devon: An alleged road rage incident ended with a man in court charged with dangerous driving. Michael Robson of Heathfield, Newton Abbot, is charged with driving a blue Land Rover Discovery dangerously on the A379 Dawlish road, in November last year. He is also charged with failing to report an incident to police and failing to stop. The court was told the incident allegedly involved a car being rammed off the road and the case will be committed to Exeter Crown Court on March 1.
Back in Derbyshire: A Peak Forest motorist found himself back on the bus, after being breathalysed earlier in the year. The driver was caught over the limit after police were tipped-off. Traffic police in a Waitrose car park, were approached just after midnight and told that a Land Rover Defender driver seemed drunk. "Officers saw Joseph Foy walk up to the driver's door, staggering and fumbling around as he unlocked the door," prosecutor Becky Mahon told High Peak magistrates. "He drove to Bridge Street and police followed and stopped the vehicle in Fairfield Road." Joseph Foy, 20, of Fields Farm, Peak Forest, admitted drink-driving on October 24. He had a clean driving licence and no previous convictions. The justices fined him £215, with £85 costs, and imposed a 17-month driving ban that will be cut to 13 months if he passes a drink-driving rehabilitation course.
Worcestershire Theft: Approximately £12,000 worth of equipment was stolen from a farm near Flyford Flavell. The theft from Little Ashdene Farm in Kington took place between 6pm on December 29 and 8am on December 30. A green Land Rover Discovery, registration P938 BCP, was stolen in the burglary and used to tow away a twin axle trailer with outboard wheels and red mudguards carrying a JCB mini-digger, while a second unknown vehicle was used to tow away a Yamaha quad bike on a trailer. The specially designed trailer was later found abandoned without the quad bike near a layby at Elmley Castle. A police spokesman said: “Even at night, the Discovery pulling a substantial twin-axled trailer carrying a JCB mini-digger - and probably a number of other items - and another vehicle towing a trailer carrying a quad bike will have been very noticeable.” Anyone with information on the burglary is urged to call police on 03003 333000, quoting 106S/301209, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Burnham and Highbridge Ram Raid: A stolen Range Rover was used as a battering ram to smash into the Somerfield supermarket in Highbridge, the fourth ram-raid in the area in just six months. Thieves mowed down a perimeter fence before ramming the stolen 4x4 at speed into the back of the store but they fled empty-handed after an alarm sounded.
Essex Drama: A Discovery driver who nearly caused a major collision after driving under level crossing gates moments before a train arrived has been given a suspended prison sentence. Richard Waring was feeling suicidal, following an incident with Waring and his estranged wife, when he drove his Land Rover Discovery onto a crossing near Kelvedon in February last year but the architect changed his mind at the last moment and smashed through the gates damaging the barriers as he got his vehicle off the railway track. When Waring drove onto the mainline, police said that onlookers rang 999 to report what appeared to be a suicidal driver on the tracks with a train just moments away.The Kelvedon incident set off a sensor in the barrier which immediately alerted Network Rail. Following the drama, rail workers went to the site and spent about 40 minutes putting the barrier back on its hinges. Trains on the mainline into London were slowed to ensure the safety of the engineers.The 57-year-old pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage totalling £1,400 for the replacement of the barriers. Jane Oldfield, prosecuting in Chelmsford Crown Court, said she would also be applying for £17,600 compensation including the cost of two hours delay to trains while the crossing was repaired. Waring was sentenced to a suspended 12-month prison term, and placed on a 12-month supervision order and told to complete 80 hours of community punishment but escaped having to pay compensation.
Bedfordshire Burglary: An elderly man was pushed to the ground and had his wallet stolen during a January 6th robbery at in his home in Toddington. The man was upstairs at his home in the High Street when he heard noises. He went downstairs to find two men, both thought to be in their 30s, who pushed him to the floor before taking his wallet from his pocket. He managed to call the police but the men ran out of the front door as he raised the alarm. The first robber was white, about 35 years old, 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build, and had dark, slicked-back hair. The second offender was also white, around the same age, wore dark clothing and a black knitted hat. He spoke with a local accent. Police want to trace a blue Land Rover Discovery seen leaving the scene, thought to have a registration similar to H488 WNP. Anyone with any information about either incident should contact Bedfordshire Police on 01234 841212.
Bedfordshire blag: Bedfordshire Police are warning motorists not to leave their cars unattended while defrosting in the cold weather after a Range Rover was stolen from outside a house. The owner of the red car switched on the engine and went back inside while it warmed up and cleared the windscreen. In that time the thieves jumped into the motor and drove away at about 10.20pm on Thursday. It was later found abandoned in Upper Caldecote, Bedfordshire. Anyone with information on this crime should call Pc Adam Haylock on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Cheltenham 4x4 vandals; A gang of youths ploughed a Land Rover through the gardens of three homes in Cheltenham, leaving behind a trail of destruction. The vandals, are believed to be teenagers and were seen in the new silver Land Rover Discovery. They smashed through four wooden fences before driving away but are thought to have returned 10 minutes later to admire the carnage. Residents who witnessed the incident in Farm Close, Hester's Way, say it was lucky no one was hurt. Kirk Harris a 49-year-old engineering inspector, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said: "I couldn't believe what I saw. They'd clearly done it deliberately. It was four young lads, they must have stolen it. To say I'm livid is an understatement." A spokesman for Gloucestershire police said: "Officers are investigating reports of a 4x4 going through the fence of a property and a neighbouring property. We're also investigating whether damage was caused in other areas. We are still trying to establish if the vehicle used in the incident was stolen. The investigation is ongoing." Anyone with information on the incident should contact police on 0845 090 1234, quoting incident 37 of January 11.