A Transit-driving thief smashed into a 76-year-old’s Vauxhall – breaking the pensioner’s collarbone in the crash.

Inside the back of the beaten-up Ford van were almost £13,000-worth of tools that professional crook Craig Ballantyne had just stolen in a break-in at Screwfix.

Ballantyne, 33, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court last month to burglary and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

At Oxford Crown Court on Thursday, defence barrister Alice Aubrey-Fletcher asked for her client to be assessed by drug addiction charity Turning Point to assess whether he was suitable for a residential rehab scheme.

Judge Ian Pringle QC was told that Ballantyne, who appeared in court via video link from HMP Bullingdon, had reduced his prescription to class A drug substitute methadone from 30ml a day to 20ml.

Praising his progress to date, Judge Pringle adjourned the case until Monday – when the defendant will be assessed by Turning Point. “At least at the age of 33 it’s a positive move on your part,” he said.

Crook Ballantyne was part of a gang that broke into Screwfix, near Horspath, on October 24.

Police caught up with him on the Eastern Bypass, chasing his Ford Transit to through Rose Hill to Henley Avenue.

Ballantyne struck a Vauxhall Agila driven by a 76-year-old man, who broke his collarbone in the crash. The Transit then ploughed into a bus stop.

Inside the back of the van, officers found £12,907-worth of power tools stolen from Screwfix. They included drills, pressure washers and wet-and-dry vacuum cleaners.

Ballantyne has a lengthy criminal record. In 2008, he received five-and-a-half years for a stabbing outside the Royal Standard pub in Headington.

Last December, he was given 36 weeks inside for helping a teen drug dealer launder his profits through a Coral betting account in Devon.

The thief, of no fixed address, will return to court on Monday, November 22, for sentence.

He has pleaded guilty already to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, burglary, driving without insurance and failing to provide a sample of blood at the John Radcliffe Hospital on October 25.

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