Jail for car wash joyrider

PURSUIT: Craig Rainford
PURSUIT: Craig Rainford
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Worker took customer’s car on high-speed chase.

A man who led police on a high- speed chase after taking a customer’s vehicle from the car wash where he worked has been jailed for 12 months.

Craig Rainford, formerly of Fitzgerald Street, Preston, was spotted driving around in a bronze Corsa that prosecutors say a customer had left at the Eco Car Wash, off Meadow Street, Preston.

The city’s crown court heard on April 18, at 1.45am, a police patrol spotted the Corsa on St George’s Road, overloaded with five or six people on board.

The officers activated their lights and siren and requested the car to stop – but it did not.

Rainford led police on a high- speed pursuit along Harewood Road and Skeffington Road, in Deepdale, where he flouted a red light signal at speed.

The police helicopter also joined in the chase as the car drove on to Cemetery Road and then Miller Road, in Ribbleton.

But the journey came to an abrupt end when Rainford was forced to stop on Glenview Close – a dead end.

The 28-year-old, who later admitted being the driver, ran off, but five people were arrested close by.

In a hearing he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving with no insurance, failing to provide a specimen and driving while disqualified.

In a separate case he also admitted detaining a 14-year-old boy without lawful authority in a separate case.

The court heard Rainford had previously been served a Section 2 abduction notice regarding the 14-year-old boy, with conditions not to contact or detain him, but they were seen together by a PCSO on February 7 at 9.15pm on Catforth Road in Preston.

Judge Anthony Russell, Recorder of Preston, jailed Rainford for a total of 12 months and banned him from the road for three years.

He must pay a £100 victim surcharge.

Today, a spokesman for Eco Car Wash said: “Under no circumstances was he instructed by Eco Car Wash to do this.

“No trading is done after 6pm and no vehicles are left in the compound.

“The car was sold to Craig a week prior to the incident.”

Proceedings against a 17-year-old boy and two girls aged 13 and 15 in relation to the police chase have been discontinued.