Helicopter chase drama
AWEALTHY businessman embarked on a relentless airborne pursuit after watching from his helicopteras a thief broke into his company's depot.Jeremy Taylor, who owns Tracked Dumper Hire at Manor Farm in Binham, had taken off for a routine business trip to Northern Ireland when he spotted something was wrong at a nearby site where he runs a timber-splitting firm.
AWEALTHY businessman embarked on a relentless airborne pursuit after watching from his helicopter
as a thief broke into his company's depot.
Jeremy Taylor, who owns Tracked Dumper Hire at Manor Farm in Binham, had taken off for a routine business trip to Northern Ireland when he spotted something was wrong at a nearby site where he runs a timber-splitting firm.
Although no one was due to be working there, the gates to his Langham Road yard were open and a white van had backed up to the building.
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When the thief realised he was being watched, he sped off - sparking a helicopter chase across north Norfolk which also involved Mr Taylor's mother and sister in a car below.
The getaway vehicle was eventually traced and Mr Taylor's property, including 10 logs and some power tools, were recovered from woodland in Walsingham.
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The chase also led to the arrest of 28-year-old Justin Holden, from Briston, who pleaded guilty to theft and was given a conditional discharge for 12 months by King's Lynn magistrates on Friday.
Mr Taylor said: “I was just pleased to be able to get a result, although it annoys me that he only seems to have got a slap on the wrist.
“I knew somebody was in the wrong and I thought, 'You are not going to get away from me.' There was no way I was going to lose this van, I just had to persevere.”
Professional pilot Mr Taylor, 38, followed the van through Stiffkey, Wighton and Wells after the chase began on May 2.
“He obviously knew I was following him and tried to do a U-turn in Wells,” he said. “He didn't know where to go.
“It was quite difficult flying the helicopter while observing the movements he was making. All white vans look the same at that height.”
Mr Taylor hovered over Walsingham after the thief parked in woodland - giving him time to use his satellite phone to call his mother Anne and sister Caroline, who drove out to join the pursuit.
They caught up with the fleeing driver on the outskirts of Fakenham, took details of the van's markings and deflated its tyres when it was temporarily abandoned in Stody, near Holt.
Running low on fuel, Mr Taylor returned to his helipad at Binham and drove out to check what was missing from his property. He said: “It is not a building I go to very often, so at first glance I could not tell what was taken. Then instinct told me to go to Walsingham, where the driver had spent 20 minutes in the woods.”
When Mr Taylor arrived, he found the stolen logs, hand tools, diesel cans and a tractor battery dumped behind a wall - then contacted the police.
Wells PC Jason Pegden said: “It was a superb job from Jeremy. He must have spent more on fuel than the value of the goods, but it is the principle that matters.”