Farm raid getaway driver told to expect ‘lengthy’ prison sentence

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A getaway driver has been told to expect a lengthy prison sentence after admitting his role in the £17,000 burglary of a farm in Northamptonshire.

Billy McHugh, aged 33, of Kirton End, Blackthorn, Northampton, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of burglary, as well as one of handing stolen goods and another charge of dangerous driving, at Northampton Crown Court on Wednesday.

McHugh admitted his role in the burglary, at Hollowell Lodge Farm, in Creaton, on July 7 last year, was to act as the getaway driver.

The court heard how McHugh drove burglars, who have never been caught, to the farm in a Mitsubishi 4x4.

They then broke into a series of small units used by people to store goods and vehicles for the annual Hollowell Steam Fair.

Prosecuting, Jenna Allen told the court how the burglars had used bolt cutters to break into the units.

They stole goods including vintage milk churns, tools and generators. The goods were piled into a trailer, which was also stolen from the site, and McHugh drove off in a stolen Land Rover.

The court heard he had been spotted by police and then drove off, speeding through quiet villages at 75mph.

Mrs Allen said: “The defendant was spotted just after 2am driving the Land Rover. It was a stolen Land Rover and being towed from the back was a trailer, which had all the items recovered from the burglary in it.”

He told the court how McHugh was followed by police, drove straight through a crossroads without stopping, and was finally arrested after he crashed the Land Rover into a ditch.

Mitigating, Richard Holloway said McHugh had been approached by two men who offered him cash to take part in the raid.

Judge Richard Bray agreed to bail McHugh and to adjourn sentencing for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. However, he warned him he was likely to go to prison.

He said: “He is going to prison, he is going for some time, and I can’t really understand what a report is going to tell me that I don’t already know. He is going to prison for some time whether he is of previous good character or not.”