A SUSPECTED burglar is due to appear before Coventry magistrates today (Friday) after holding a couple in Holbrooks at knifepoint before leading the police on a late-night car chase on the wrong side of two major roads in the West Midlands.
Unemployed Lee Middleton is charged with aggravated burglary, dangerous driving and driving without insurance while disqualified after being arrested just hours after an Audi S3 Quattro was stolen in Holbrooks shortly before midnight on Wednesday evening.
The same car was later seen driving the wrong way down the A45 and M42 in Solihull where it crashed into a central reservation after being chased by specially trained officers both on the ground and in the air.
The 32-year-old was also assisted by another man who remains on the run.
The pair were spotted in the Audi at a petrol station on the Birmingham Road at around 12am on Wednesday night, just minutes after a reported burglary at a flat in Holbrooks.
As police approached them the car sped away the wrong way down the A45 and out of sight before the car was picked up by camera operators heading southband past junction 2 on the M42.
They led police on a dangerous chase which saw the car driving on the wrong side of the hard shoulder and with the car’s headlights turned off despite facing oncoming traffic.
The pursuit was eventually abandoned in the interests of public safety but the car eventually the car crashed into a central reservation after being tracked by the National Police Air Service.
The driver and passenger got out and dodged traffic to run across the northbound carriageway into thick copse next to a nearby canal.
Exactly an hour after the crime was committed Lee Middleton was arrested and questioned by detectives and police are eager for any witnesses to come forward.
“Our control room ensured police flooded the area when the initial 999 call was made reporting the break-in.” said Detective Sergeant Gareth Mitchell, from the Serious Acquisitive Crime Team at Force CID in Coventry
“The thieves had a knife and a knuckleduster and it must have been horrific for the couple that were threatened in the flat, but thankfully they were uninjured after handing over keys to the Audi.
“The arrest of a man so soon after the burglary was a result of fantastic work by our traffic officers as well as the Central Motorway Police Group, West Mercia Police and the National Police Air Service.
“Whilst public safety always comes first, we’ll do everything in our power when dangerous suspects are within our sights to stop them from getting away and causing any further harm.”
Any witnesses to any of the events should call Force CID in Coventry on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.