Disqualified driver swapped seats with passenger during high-speed police chase on A14 in Northamptonshire
Judge jails serial offender for traffic offences and theft of £38,000 motorbikes
A couple switched seats while being followed by police officers at 50mph on the A14 in an attempt to hide who had been driving the car.
Northampton Crown Court heard how Andru-Jay Burgess, a 21-year-old with a long criminal history, was driving the Vauxhall Astra when he was spotted in December 2019.
Disqualified driver Burgess was seen swapping seats with his passenger Katie Young, 30, while the car was still moving. It veered dangerously across the carriageway before police caught and arrested them.
The pair appeared in the court on Thursday (July 15) to face charges of dangerous driving and other motoring offences.
Burgess, who has ten convictions for 17 previous offences including assaulting police officers, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified, was also in court to face a burglary charge which Judge David Herbert QC heard had 'wrecked' the victim's life.
He was jailed for two years and disqualified from driving for 30 months.
The court was told that Burgess, from Culross Walk, Corby, had cut through a fence to get into a unit at Oundle Marina in August 2019 where Two Ducatis and a Kawasaki worth a total of £38,250 plus tools worth £5,000 were being stored.
The bikes belonged to a man who had retired after 43 years to take up the restoration and sale of motorbikes.
In a heartbreaking statement read to the court, the victim said: "I was in the process of starting my own motorcycle business, something I'd dreamed of for many years.
"The bikes had all been fixed up and were ready for sale. None of the motorcycles were insured."
He went on to say that after the theft he ended up in a 'very bad place'.
"I lashed out at my friends and family and my on the point of leaving me. I'm still very angry and can't talk about these motorcycles with anybody.
"I lost something of myself. I'd spent five years restoring the Kawasaki, sourcing parts from all over the world. It was irreplaceable.
"These people need to know when they do this they wreck people's lives.
"I am very lucky I have my wife and my family but I came very close to losing them."
None of the bikes were recovered and Burgess refused to tell police who else had been involved in the burglary. He was caught after his fingerprints were discovered in the unit.
Katie Young, of Westminster Walk, Corby, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was given an 18-month community order.
Burgess admitted dangerous driving and driving while disqualified as well as the commercial burglary.
Mitigating for Burgess, barrister Daniel Green said: "He can't remember anything.
"He was a 19-year-old addict of crack cocaine - he wasn't acting on his own. He says he was roped-in as a body to help and that's why he didn't have his gloves on and that's why his fingerprint was left."
Burgess, who has found a job as a labourer, now claims to have been clean for two years and has not committed any offences since last August when he was spared jail after spitting at a police officer at the height of the pandemic and shouting 'enjoy covid.'
Mr Green added: "He says that way of life is not something he needs to continue and he was dragged in by the wrong type of people.