A THIEF who stole a decommissioned ambulance and abandoned it on railway tracks after a high-speed chase has been jailed.

Shane Hughes, 41, from Halifax, led officers on a 37-mile chase, driving the wrong way round a roundabout, crashing through a barrier and stopping on the railway line before running away from the vehicle as a train approached at 70mph.

North Yorkshire Police released footage of the final moments of the chase taken from the dashcam of a police car during the pursuit, which took place at Kildwick on July 13.

Officers waved to try to warn the train driver of the danger as it thundered past and blasted its horn, narrowly missing the getaway vehicle.


Hughes was jailed on Tuesday for 22 months and banned for driving for six years and 11 months at Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to driving offences and a charge of theft, where a judge said it was the worst case of dangerous driving he had ever seen.

Traffic Constable Gemma Brett, of the Major Collision Investigation Unit, said: "On the day of these offences, Shane Hughes put numerous lives at risk and could have caused untold carnage.

"His actions were totally irresponsible, illegal and focused entirely on himself with no thought whatsoever for the safety of anyone else. The sentence handed to him today shows that the courts, as well as the police, are determined to keep North Yorkshire’s communities safe by getting offenders like Hughes off our roads."