Man sentenced over 80-mile crime spree

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A MAN who went on a bizarre 80-mile crime spree before finally being stopped by police in Skegness has been sentenced.

Steve Cockayne stole three vehicles and broke into two homes during his five-hour spree, before finally being stopped by a car stinger.

His surreal spree after he walked bare foot from his home in Sheffield to the Derbyshire town of Eckington in the early hours of January 24 and broke into a bungalow just before 4am.

Cockayne confronted the woman householder demanding she give him a pair of socks before fleeing with a pair of trainers belonging to her husband as well as the keys to his van.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Cockayne, who was distressed and crying while inside the property, then took the couple’s van and headed towards the East Coast only to crash into a hedge in the village of Ancaster.

Cockayne then smashed his way into a nearby property while the occupants were asleep and after taking their car keys he continued his journey in their Ford Focus.

He crashed again at Freiston near Boston writing off the second car and then confronted two other residents in the village in an attempt to get another vehicle.

Cockayne then took another vehicle which the owner had left parked outside his house with the engine running.

He finally reached Skegness where he was brought to a halt by a police stinger device.

Cockayne was arrested and subsequently taken to hospital. Later he told police he could only recall fragments of events over the previous five hours.

Cockayne, 40, of Dominoe Grove, Intake, Sheffield, admitted three charges of burglary, three charges of aggravated vehicle taking and attempted robbery, all committed on the morning of 24 January.

He was given a three year community order with a requirement to undergo mental health treatment after the court was told psychiatrists had diagnosed that he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the offences. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Judge Michael Heath told Cockayne “This is a bizarre and wholly exceptional case.

“These are very serious offences. I don’t for one moment underestimate the unpleasant experiences which the complainants in this case suffered but I have read the psychiatric reports on you.

“In most cases of this sort I would be looking to pass a long prison sentence but in this case that is not appropriate.”

Joanne Staples, defending, said Cockayne, who has been held in custody since his arrest, would receive treatment for his condition and a care plan has already been prepared.