A dangerous scooter rider who was convicted through the first use of a DNA ‘tagging’ spray in West Yorkshire has been jailed after committing another road related crime.
Connor Walker, 18, (pictured) from South Elmsall, West Yorkshire, has been locked up for 33 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving in relation to an incident in which cars were attacked and he fled officers on a scooter, leading to a police pursuit.
Walker was the first person in West Yorkshire to be tagged with the new SelectaDNA tagging spray following another offence on May 28th last year, during the spray’s first deployment by Wakefield South East NPT officers. The spray, every can of which contains a unique chemical signature, marked Walker and the suspect vehicle, indisputably linking him to the offence.
Several other police forces are successfully using the same DNA spray technology to tackle the massive problem of moped-enabled crime and anti-social riding including the Metropolitan Police, West Midlands Police, Cheshire Constabulary, Surrey Police and Merseyside Police. Merseyside officers previously secured two convictions for anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving using SelectaDNA spray.
Walker’s 33-month jail sentence includes terms for disqualified driving, breach of a criminal behaviour order and 12 months for breach of a suspended sentence. The ‘breach’ related to the suspended sentence Walker received last year for the May 28th dangerous driving offence in South Elmsall.
After his latest crime (on January 18th 2018), Walker and his pillion rider Niall Pretty were arrested when a car was damaged in Pontefract and a Land Rover Discovery was damaged in Castleford by men on two scooters. One of the scooters had been stolen the day before from South Elsmall. The bikes and riders were pursued by police and the National Police Air Service and were eventually apprehended in South Elsmall after abandoning the scooters following a lengthy chase.
Niall Pretty, from Pontefract, also received a jail term and was sentenced to ten months in custody after pleading guilty to damage to a vehicle, possession of a bladed article and taking a vehicle without consent.
Sergeant Paul Skidmore of the Wakefield South East Patrol Crime Team, said: “The lawless and utterly stupid behaviour demonstrated by Walker and Pretty in January was dangerous in the extreme and we are very pleased they have both received custodial sentences.
“The chase they led officers on put other road users at risk and tied up a number of police resources while we worked to catch them in a manner which did not risk injury to everyone involved. During the incident other members of the public were forced to take evasive action to avoid them, emphasising how reckless their behaviour was.”
Inspector Paul Sullivan of Wakefield East, said: “I hope the lengthy sentence given to Walker at court serves as a real example of the punishments those involved in persistent dangerous off-road riding can face.
“We have worked very hard to tackle anti-social off road riding over the past 12 months, including deploying SelectaDNA, which can definitively link those sprayed with it to the offence they have committed.
“Anyone involved in this type of behaviour should know that no matter if you wear a headscarf, helmet or balaclava, your anonymity can’t be guaranteed.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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