Danger driver posed for picture on bonnet of a stolen Jaguar before racing from cops who spotted the vehicle in Sunderland

A danger driver is behind bars after he posted a picture of himself on Facebook posing on the bonnet of a stolen £20,000 Jaguar with the personalised registration plate replaced with the word "wild".

Monday, 5th July 2021, 3:14 pm

Mark French had got away from police by driving the stolen luxury motor, at speed, over a pedestrianised grassed area when he was seen behind the wheel on January 26.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when officers caught up with him the following week and seized his phone, they found damning photographic evidence that proved the banned 27-year-old had been driving the Jaguar, which was stolen on January 17.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: "Footage on the telephone showed the defendant driving the vehicle.

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Mark French is behind bars after he posted a picture of himself on Facebook posing on the bonnet of a stolen Jaguar.
Mark French is behind bars after he posted a picture of himself on Facebook posing on the bonnet of a stolen Jaguar.

"During the course of the footage the defendant seemed to be driving at excessive speed, using his mobile phone when driving.

"The defendant had posted on the evening of January 23 to Facebook a picture of himself and another male sitting on the bonnet of the Jaguar with the number plate overwritten with the word 'wild'."

The court heard officers had spotted the stolen motor, which was than bearing cloned number plates, near Tesco at Roker Retail Park in Sunderland on January 26.

Miss Dowling said: "In essence, the car was being driven relatively normally until he realised the police car was following him.

The picture uploaded on Facebook of Mark French on the bonnet of the stolen Jaguar.

"It then sped up, through residential areas, failing to give way at roundabouts and through a section of roadworks before taking a sharp left and disappearing down an alley and across a grassed area where motor vehicles clearly should not be going."

The court heard police abandoned the chase when the car turned onto the grassed area but tracked down French when they viewed CCTV which captured the driver.

The car was eventually recovered but had some damage.

French, of Burdon Lane, Sunderland, admitted handling stolen goods, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

Mark French was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard French already has a record for driving offences.

Mr Recorder David Brooke QC sentenced him to 27 months behind bars with a three year road ban.

The judge told him: "Footage from the mobile phone recovered showed you had the car in your possession some days before the dangerous driving."

Christopher Knox, defending, said French has had a "thoroughly nasty" time in custody due to lockdown and having no visitors allowed, which has "brought home to him the value of his liberty".

The area Mark French drove over to flee from police

Mr Knox said French has had employment and hopes to become a mechanic.

French, who was told he would serve around half of the custodial term, complained at the end of the hearing: "I'm not going to be able to see my kids for 13 months".

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The stolen Jaguar.