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Thief escaped from Cowley car plant in new Mini
A DRUG addict broke into the Mini plant and then wrote off a brand new vehicle by smashing it into a tree.
And, despite being arrested by police, Wesley Gilbert went back to the Cowley plant and tried to steal another Mini, a judge was told at Oxford Crown Court.
On Monday Recorder Peter Crabtree gave Gilbert a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a £100 fine.
The 32-year-old has admitted aggravated vehicle taking, taking without consent and two thefts.
In his initial escapade on November 10, Gilbert, of Pegasus Road in Blackbird Leys, drove a Mini through an exit barrier to escape. On the second occasion, on November 17, he couldn’t get out of the car park.
Francis O’Toole, prosecuting, said: “Mr Gilbert climbed the fence at the BMW factory, into a secure compound containing a large number of vehicles.
“He managed to get into a red BMW Mini – all of the vehicles are left insecure, with their keys in the ignition and half a tank of petrol.
“Mr Gilbert was able to start the car and managed to drive it, smashing through the exit barrier and then drove it around Oxfordshire.”
He said the father-of-one’s journey came to an end near Princes Risborough, in Buckinghamshire, at 11.58pm when he crashed the car into a tree.
Gilbert came round covered in blood from a head injury he had received and was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.
After he was arrested he told officers he had gone to the plant to steal a bike, but was challenged and so climbed over the fence.
Once inside the compound he said he used the car to escape.
Gilbert also admitted stealing a handbag from an Oxford nightclub in Hythe Bridge Street on December 29, a blue shopping bag containing around £100 of goods from the post office in St Aldate’s on September 27.
He also asked for the second Cowley plant break-in be taken into consideration when he was sentenced.
Daniel Wright, defending, said: “He has been battling drug addiction since the age of 15 when his mother died and he started taking crack cocaine.
“He desperately wants to change.”
Mr Crabtree said: “It is in everyone’s best interest that your drug problem is addressed, so that you do not cause harm to others.”
BMW spokesman Wayne Morse said: “The theft resulted in the introduction of increased security measures at the plant.”
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