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Teenager stole £36k tractor

PUBLISHED: 09:15 30 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 July 2010

A teenager stole a £36,000 tractor and drove it down the A143 after he was coerced into taking the vehicle, a court heard yesterday.

Matthew Barley was stopped by police on the JCB tractor at the entrance to Fritton Woods, near Yarmouth, after he stole it from a building site in Bradwell.

A teenager stole a £36,000 tractor and drove it down the A143 after he was coerced into taking the vehicle, a court heard yesterday.

Matthew Barley was stopped by police on the JCB tractor at the entrance to Fritton Woods, near Yarmouth, after he stole it from a building site in Bradwell.

Barley was warned that he faced custody or a lengthy community sentence after he admitted stealing the tractor on April 12 and driving it while he was disqualified.

Yarmouth magistrates court heard that Barley, 19, of Kittiwake Close, Lowestoft, had only taken the vehicle from the Cornfields building compound in Bradwell because he and his girlfriend had been threatened.

Gary Mayle, prosecuting, said Barley managed to get two miles before police pulled him over.

Mr Mayle said that Barley co-operated with officers straightaway.

The court heard that last May, Barley was banned from driving any vehicle for 12 months after he was convicted of drink-driving. He also had one previous conviction for taking a vehicle without consent.

Kevin Batch, in mitigation, said that the JCB theft was pre-planned and that other people had forced his client into taking the tractor.

Mr Batch said: “He was the patsy. You do not spontaneously steal a JCB. He was asked to commit the offence. If he did not do it then certain things would happen to his girlfriend and him and one of two other people.”

The court heard that no damage was caused to the tractor or the building site during the theft.

Barley will be sentenced on May 20.

He also pleaded guilty at yesterday's hearing to driving without a licence and insurance.

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