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Men tried to hide in hot tub while chased by helicopter after fleeing from stolen car

Carlisle Crown Court

Two men who were chased by a police helicopter and tried to hide in a hot tub after stealing a car with a key pinched from a Cumbrian cottage have been sentenced by a judge.‪

Carlisle Crown Court heard a neighbour was woken by noise from a property in Winton, Kirkby Stephen, during the early hours of January 29 2020, and saw suspicious activity.

Police later found people had stayed inside the property — owned by a Newcastle man who also rented it out as a holiday home — and that personal belongings, including a spare car key, had been snatched.‬

‪Five weeks later, on March 4, the man’s £10,000 Nissan Qashqai was stolen from outside his Tyneside house.

A constable saw, followed and stopped the Qashqai, from which the driver and front seat passenger got out and fled.‬

They were James Francis Colin Forman, 21, and 32-year-old Peter Morien.‬

“A police helicopter was deployed and located the two males who had run from the car,” said prosecutor Alaric Walmsley.

“Police used a thermal image camera to film the defendants running through gardens and then hide in a hot tub.

“A police officer with a police dog was directed to the hot tub, and both defendants were arrested.”

Morien briefly ran off again but was detained.‬

‪The fingerprints of Forman and heavily-convicted Morien were found on bottles left at the cottage, whose owner later spoke of suffering “a lot of emotional distress”, and being left feeling “personally vulnerable” by their criminal conduct. Both men admitted theft of the key and car.‬

‪Morien, of Kearsley Close, Seaton Delaval, near Whitley Bay,‬ was jailed for nine months, while Forman, of Brookland Terrace, North Shields, had a 30-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

Passing sentence, Recorder Richard Archer described the pair’s attempt to flee from police as “rather ham-fisted”.