A ONE-LEGGED thief who was recruited as a getaway driver in order to steal a high value lorry from a crime-hit industrial estate has been jailed for 18 months.

Teesside Crown Court was told that Ryan Buttery’s addiction to heroin had seen him exploited by others to take part in the raid on a haulage company based on the Gatherley Road industrial estate in Brompton-on-Swale, near Catterick.

Buttery, who uses a wheelchair and was given permission to sit in the well of the courtroom, had only driven the HGV a matter of yards when police, who had become suspicious about late night movements in and out of the industrial estate, forced him to stop.

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Kieran Rainey, prosecuting, said the 26-year-old then wound down his window and told officers: “There’s five lads back there taking the gates off”.

Buttery, who had a leg amputated following what his barrister Daniel Foster described as a “life changing event” which post-dated the raid, admitted theft and driving while disqualified on October 20 last year.

Mr Foster said he had played a peripheral part in the criminal enterprise and had been drawn into it because of a serious addiction to heroin over a number of years.

He said: “He has been exploited by other individuals and anticipated by becoming involved he would receive a small amount of money in order to buy drugs.

“He is no longer using illegal drugs and in due course a false leg will be available to him.”

The court was told the vehicle had been recovered and returned to its owner due to the vigilance of the police.

Mr Foster said should Buttery be jailed it would cause him enormous difficulties and discomfort.

Judge Peter Bowers jailed Buttery, of Docking Hill Road, Doncaster, for 18 months and also handed him a fresh driving ban.