Corby couple swapped car seats while being followed by police at 50mph on the A14 at Kettering
One of the pair is a notorious young criminal from Corby
A Corby couple switched seats while being followed by police officers at 50mph on the A14 in an attempt to hide who had been driving the car.
Northampton Crown Court heard how Andru-Jay Burgess, a 21-year-old with an extensive criminal history, was driving the Vauxhall Asrtra past junction seven when he was spotted by police in December 2019.
Disqualified driver Burgess, from Culross Walk, Corby, was seen swapping seats with his passenger Katie Young, 30, of Westminster Walk, while the car was still moving. It veered dangerously across the carriageway before police caught and arrested them.
The pair appeared in the court on Thursday (July 15) to face charges of dangerous driving and other motoring offences.
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Burgess, who has ten convictions for seventeen previous offences including assaulting police officers, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified, was also in court to face a burglary charge which Judge David Herbert QC heard had 'wrecked' the victim's life.
The court was told that Burgess had cut through a fence to get into a unit at Oundle Marina in August 2019 where three motorcycles worth a total of £38,250 were being stored.
The bikes were the property of man who had retired from his full time job after 43 years and decided to take up the restoration and sale of motorbikes. He was storing them in a pal's lock-up unit.
Two Ducatis and a Kawasaki were taken in the raid as well as tools worth £5,000 belonging to the owner of the unit.
In a heartbreaking statement read to the court, the victim said: "I was in the process of starting my own motorcycle business, something I'd dreamed of for many years.
"The bikes had all been fixed up and were ready for sale. None of the motorcycles were insured."
He went on to say that after the theft he ended up in a 'very bad place'.
"I lashed out at my friends and family and my on the point of leaving me. I'm still very angry and can't talk about these motorcycles with anybody.
"I lost something of myself. I'd spent five years restoring the Kawasaki, sourcing parts from all over the world. It was irreplaceable.
"I've had to go back to my full-time work.
"I've spent my whole life working with motorbikes. It's at the core of my being. These people need to know when they do this they wreck people's lives.
"I am very lucky I have my wife and my family but I came very close to losing them."
The unit owner said that he had been friends with the man who had the bikes stolen since he was 18 but their friendship was affected by the theft.
"I couldn't claim on the insurance," he said, "because it would have had an effect on the long-term cost of the insurance."
He added that he had to spend £1,000 upgrading the unit's security after the burglary.
None of the bikes have ever been recovered and Burgess refused to tell police who else had been involved in the burglary. He was caught after his fingerprints were discovered in the unit.
Katie Young, who has seven convictions for 13 previous offences, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
Burgess admitted dangerous driving and driving while disqualified as well as the commercial burglary.
Mitigating for Burgess, barrister Daniel Green said: "He can't remember anything. He was addicted to crack cocaine at the time. He'd been using significantly.
"He was asked by police who was with him. He said he 'I know who it was but I'm not going to tell you.'
"He was a 19-year-old addict of crack cocaine - he wasn't acting on his own. He says he was roped-in as a body to help and that's why he didn't have his gloves on and that's why his fingerprint was left.
"At his age he's clearly not somebody who had the authority to commit this offence and be the leading role in it. There's clearly more than one person involved."
Burgess, who has found a job as a labourer, now claims to have been clean for two years and has not committed any offences since August last year when he assaulted a police officer.
Mr Green added: "He says that way of life is not something he needs to continue and he was dragged in by the wrong type of people.
Mitigating for Young, Mr Green said: "She was asked to swap seats with Mr Burgess and she made a mistake.
"She has two young children."
Last August the Northants Telegraph told how Burgess had escaped jail after spitting at a police officer at the height of the pandemic and shouting 'enjoy covid'.Sentencing the pair, Judge David Herbert QC said: "The consequences of your offending has had a significant impact on the victim's life, in fact he says it has wrecked his life, and has had a significant impact on his family.
"In December 2019 you were involved in the course of dangerous driving with Miss Young. It's more by luck than judgement that there were no other road users.
"Miss Young this was foolish on your part. You were not the prime mover in the dangerous driving but you did your best to assist Mr Burgess.
"I would like to think this is the last time we'll see you before the courts."
Burgess was sent to prison for two years and was disqualified from driving for 30 months.
Young was given an 18-month community order with a rehabilitation requirement to work with women's services.