Ram-raider fled Tesco break-in driving wrecked car with just two tyres

A ram-raider caused £15,000 of damage to a Tesco building before driving off with just two tyres left on his wrecked car.

Gavin Ball was caught on CCTV using a Citroen Picasso to break through a set of doors at the storage unit in Sunderland.

Once inside, he stole a £1,000 generator and a £10 jerry can before getting into his severely damaged car and driving off.

A court heard his broken car door was swinging open, pieces were falling off the uninsured vehicle onto the road and smoke was coming from two bare rims as he drove through the city to his home for two miles.

Newcastle Crown Court heard banned driver Ball, 33, who was wearing a surgical mask, made a “two finger sign” at an off-duty police officer whose eyes were drawn to the state of the car in the early hours of December 12 last year.

Gavin Ball
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Prosecutor Alec Burns told the court: “The offside door was swinging as he was driving along.

“Pieces of the car were falling.

“The inspector could see smoke or steam coming from the car.

“There was substantial damage to the off-side of the car.

“It was all revealed when the car was located at Tower Street West, two miles from the Tesco. There were no tyres on either of the offside wheels, which explains the smoke.

“There were marks on the road which show it had been driven on just the rims.”

The court heard the stolen generator was in the back seat of the car, the jerry can in the footwell and a meat cleaver was found in the boot.

Ball, of Tower Street West, Sunderland, who has convictions for 88 previous offences, admitted burglary, dangerous driving, possession of a bladed article, failing to provide a specimen, driving without insurance, driving while disqualified and possession of a small amount of cannabis that was found.

Recorder Andrew Haslam QC jailed him for 28 months with a two year road ban and extended test requirement.

The judge told him: “An off duty police officer saw you driving your car, which was in a damaged state. There were no tyres, there were damaged parts left at the scene.

“There was smoke billowing out of the car.

Damage caused to ram-raider Gavin Ball’s car
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

“It is clear the vehicle you were driving wasn’t fit to be driven.”

Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Ball has no recollection of what happened as he had taken cocaine and valium, which he had thought were just “calming tablets” after being told some upsetting personal news.

Miss Coxon said Ball can “offer no explanation” for his behaviour and said thankfully nobody was hurt.

The court heard Ball had been running his own business which was hit by the coronavirus pandemic and he had been given a government grant, which he was living off at the time.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland