Stolen Porsche crashed in high-speed police chase in Sunderland
Two men who crashed a stolen Porsche while trying to evade capture by police have been convicted for their crimes.
Darren Stevens, 44, raided a family home on Side Cliff Road, Sunderland, in the dead of night as the occupants were sleeping upstairs.
He helped himself to the keys to a Porsche Boxter, which was parked outside, and then drove the stolen vehicle to pick up partner-in-crime Michael Podd.
Podd, 38, then jumped behind the wheel of the stolen car, before police spotted the vehicle and followed in pursuit.
Officers followed the Porsche during a high-speed chase as the offenders ignored red lights and drove on the wrong side of the road.
After crashing the car, which was later written off, driver Podd and Stevens then fled the scene on foot.
Northumbria Police Dog Zeeke, with assistance from the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, then helped officers locate the pair hiding nearby, leading to their arrest.
Detective Constable Neil Swainston, of Northumbria Police, said: “We make no apology for our tough stance on burglars and Stevens in particular should be ashamed of his actions.
“Stevens targeted a family home and stole their car that was parked outside on the street, showing a total disregard for the law and the livelihood of others, before meeting up with Podd.
“Podd – who had no licence or insurance - then endangered the lives of the community and police as he teared along residential streets at alarming speeds and ignored red lights in a bid to get away from officers.
“He is very fortunate that nobody died as a result of his disgraceful actions behind the wheel, and now must deal with the consequences of his very serious criminality.
“We will continue to do all we can to ensure those who bring misery on our communities to justice – and there’s little doubt that our communities can sleep easier with these two individuals behind bars.”
The court heard Stevens, of no fixed abode, broke into the family home at about 4am on Thursday, October 3 last year and woke up the victim’s dog, which started barking.
He pleaded guilty to burglary and aggravated vehicle taking without consent.
On Wednesday, January 8 he was jailed for two-and-a-half years and received a 27-month driving ban.
Podd, of Brady Street, Sunderland, admitted dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking without consent, driving without insurance and driving without a license at a Newcastle Court hearing on the same day.
He will be sentenced on Friday, March 20.
In a statement read out in court, the victim said: “As a result of the break-in, I no longer feel safe in my own home.
“I constantly keep all my doors locked and I am checking that the door is secure when I go to bed. I’m constantly waking up thinking I’ve heard noises so I am always up and down checking everything is OK.
“This incident has taken over part of my life and I’m finding it quite difficult to overcome what has happened.”