November 21, 2014 / 8:38 PM / 5 years ago

Car thief crashed through fence and raced down UK airport runway

LONDON (Reuters) - A car thief who crashed through airport fencing and careered onto the runway, leaving an aircraft running low on fuel circling above, was jailed for three years and eight months in Britain on Friday.

Prosecutors said Matthew Dobson, 40, had stolen a car in the eastern port of Grimsby in August and had driven at high speed to Humberside regional airport where he crashed through mesh fencing and onto the runway.

“Driving underneath the path of a helicopter which was in the process of taking off, he then accelerated to speeds of approximately 80 mph (130 kph) down the main runway before coming to rest in a field,” the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said. He was arrested after abandoning the car.

“A KLM passenger flight was due to land as this incident was unfolding,” the CPS said.

“It was put in a holding pattern and had seven minutes left to divert to a different airfield to ensure it had enough fuel left to land somewhere safely,” it added in a statement.

Dobson had earlier admitted several driving offences and a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft.

Prosecutor Jeremy Evans told Grimsby Crown Court: “This bizarre crime spree was extraordinarily dangerous and reckless, putting many peoples’ lives at risk.”

Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Gareth Jones

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