Gainsborough: Police officers rescued burglar from a burning car

A judge has commended two police officers who rescued a Gainsborough burglar from a burning car.
John Grange-SmithJohn Grange-Smith
John Grange-Smith

Inspector Craig Clifton and Sergeant Stuart Greatwood risked their own lives after prolific burglar John Grange-Smith, 28, was trapped in the vehicle following a dramatic 40 mile police pursuit.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Grange-Smith could not free himself from inside the stolen Land Road Defender after his accomplice lost control and overturned the £30,000 4x4 on a stretch of dual carriageway between Beckingham and Gainsborough.

The court was told Dale Middleton, 25, managed to escape from the car after trying to ram one of nine police cars which were involved in the chase across three counties.

Grange-Smith, of Richardson Rise, Gainsborough, was unable to get out of the Land Road Defender which began to smoulder as a result of the crash.

Despite the danger, the two traffic officers entered the vehicle and removed Grange-Smith to the side of the road, the court heard.

After passing sentence on the two burglars, Judge Michael Heath commended Insp Clifton and Sgt Greatwood for their bravery in entering the car.

Judge Heath said: “They risked their own lives to save Grange-Smith who potentially could have lost his life.”

Grange-Smith and Middleton, of no fixed address, were jailed for a combined total of ten years last month after they were caught following the hour long police pursuit.

The pair targeted four homes during a week long crime spree in Lincolnshire and North Nottinghamshire, the court heard.

They escaped on each occasion using a car stolen during the raids but were finally detained after writing off the Land Rover Defender.

Grange-Smith was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment.

Middleton was jailed for five years and nine months.

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