A Chester man who burgled a house in Deeside to steal the keys for a car parked on the drive has been jailed for three years.
Steven Prior, 37, denied burglary, claiming the ignition keys had been left in the vehicle.
But a jury at Mold Crown Court convicted him unanimously yesterday (Thursday, August 6) of the burglary at The Meadows in Shotton.
The court then heard Prior had made 45 previous court appearances, had convictions for 211 offences, and his previous convictions for house burglary meant he was a so-called 'third striker' with a minimum three year statutory sentence.
Judge David Hale warned him if he continued to commit burglary then the offences would only get longer.
In addition to the prison sentence, Prior, of Victoria Road, Chester, was banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended re-test.
He admitted aggravated vehicle taking, having no licence and no insurance.
The court heard after stealing the keys to Ian Goldup’s company car he drove the Volkswagen Golf 'in an extremely dangerous fashion' in narrow streets in Chester to get away from the police.
Prosecuting barrister Karl Scholz told the court the victim had left his ignition keys on a work surface in the kitchen.
The house was locked that night and when he got up in the morning his company car had been taken. There was no sign of forced entry.
That same evening police in an unmarked car saw the vehicle travel along Sealand Road into Chester.
At traffic lights near B&Q a marked police car was coming the other way and the Golf stopped and reversed into a driveway of a house.
When the police car had passed the vehicle continued into Chester but the officers in the unmarked car followed it and indicated for it to stop.
Prior was driving and reached 80mph to get away and went through three red traffic lights.
It turned into Gladstone Avenue and Whipcord Lane before entering Upper Cambrian Road and Grenville Road then did a circle into Gladstone Road.
There its path was blocked by the police car – so the Golf stopped and reversed at speed. It hit a wall in an alleyway causing substantial damage.
Prior fled on foot and was later arrested walking in Sedgefield Road.
In evidence to the jury, he agreed he had been in Deeside at the time but said he had bought the car for £100 from a drugs dealer.
He said the keys were in the ignition and he denied committing a house burglary to get them.
After the conviction, defending barrister Peter Moss said the burglary was closer to a sneak theft and asked the judge not to impose 'a crushing sentence'.