AN UNLICENSED driver went on a Demolition Derby-style ride through Huddersfield – on a stolen digger!
Ex-heroin addict Daniel Taylor, 27, caused nearly £10,000 damage when he collided with four other vehicles during the five-mile drive last December 14.
Bradford Crown Court heard the father-of-one drove the digger on the promise of work after being told a “cock and bull story” by a group of travellers.
Richard Davies, prosecuting, said the £23,500 vehicle had earlier been stolen from a builder’s yard in Shelley.
He said a couple were driving behind Taylor on Liley Lane, Mirfield, when the digger approached a bend.
Mr Davies said: “A bus was approaching in the opposite direction and stopped before the bend.
“The vehicle drove around the bend without slowing, hit the side of the bus and ripped off some large panels.”
The digger continued on to Bog Green Lane, where it approached a queue of traffic waiting to cross a bridge.
Mr Davies added: “The vehicle carried on across the bridge and hit two cars and a Transit van.”
One of the cars and the van lost wing mirrors. The collision with the second car caused more than £8,000 of damage.
The couple who were following Taylor rang the police and tracked him along Cooper Bridge Road, then Wakefield Road towards Brighouse.
Taylor turned into a field off Wakefield Road, where he was arrested by police.
He told officers he had been promised up to £400 by some travellers if he agreed to do some work.
Mr Davies said: “He denied knowing the vehicle was stolen and that he had hit any vehicles.
“He said he was driving along, the vehicle was bouncy and loud and therefore he had no knowledge of striking any of the cars or the bus.”
Sophie Drake, mitigating, told the court Taylor had never received any payment from the travellers.
She added: “He accepts what he did was very foolish and very dangerous.
“He feels he has very much let himself down.”
Taylor, of the Homewood estate in Bradford, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, handling stolen goods, careless driving and driving without a licence and insurance.
Judge Roger Scott told him: “You accepted a cock and bull story from a number of people who you didn’t know in the hope of earning between £200 and £400.
“You agreed to drive this vehicle on a public road and, not surprisingly in the circumstances, you hit a number of things.”
Taylor was sentenced to 10 months in jail and banned from driving for two years.