Farmer rammed thief’s car with Land Rover, court told


- Credit: Archant

A man from Beck Row who tried to steal from a Norfolk farmer was foiled when the farmer rammed his car with a Land Rover, a court heard.

The farmer had gone to check on his compound at Cockley Cley, near Swaffham, after an alarm went off.

He initially blamed the wind and rain but then saw a car driving down the track towards him, Norwich Crown Court heard.

“[The farmer] then followed that car,” said Lori Tucker, prosecuting. “He could see that the number plates had been covered with black plastic.

“He decided they were up to no good so to try to stop the car he rammed it with his Land Rover.”

The Peugeot car got stuck in the mud, and defendant Tony Smith, 52, got out and smashed the window of the Land Rover with a wrench, Ms Tucker said.

A scuffle ensued in which Smith hit the farmer with the wrench, threatened to kill him and to stab him with a screwdriver.

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The farmer saw that there were drums of diesel in the back of the car and he saw Smith throw a laser, worth around £2,500 and used for surveying, from the vehicle.

Smith fled after the farmer’s wife rang 999 and was later arrested.

It happened in February 2014.

Smith, of Beck Row, near Isleham, admitted common assault and stealing diesel and a laser.

John Farmer, mitigating, said that Smith worked as a landscape gardener, pleaded guilty on the first day of trial and led “quite an honest, decent and thoughtful life”.

“Asked why he did it, he said he didn’t know but he deserved a thrashing,” said Mr Farmer. “In a peculiar way, that’s what he nearly got as the vehicle pushed him for 1,000 metres.”

Judge Katherine Moore, sentencing, said Smith stole from “vulnerable, remote” premises and when challenged “with some vigour” by the owner of those premises he responded with violence.

“It was an extremely unpleasant incident, aggravated by the fact you have a long history of offending,” she told him.

Smith was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to stay away from the victim’s address in Oxborough, around four miles from Cockley Cley, for the duration of the 12-month community order.