A PERSISTENT offender who accepts that being arrested and serving prison sentences as an ‘occupational hazard’ is back behind bars.

Ian Caygill was arrested after he caught by police running away from a stolen van following pursuit around the Middlesbrough area.

The stolen goods, which had been stored on the rear of the van, including a £6,000 crane and more than £1,000 worth of tools, were recovered from a business premises connected to the 40-year-old, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Cleveland Police recovered all of the goods from the unit on Bessemer Court, Grangetown, within hours of the flatbed van being stolen at around 7pm on Saturday, January 5, 2019.

Richard Witcombe, prosecuting, said that shortly after the van was stolen its tracker had been removed and goods stashed away at Caygill's lock-up.

He said: "The van was being driven into Bessemer Court at about 8pm and then the van, without the tools and crane, was again seen being driven at 10pm."

Mr Witcombe said a seven and half minute police pursuit ensued at that point with Caygill being in the passenger seat.

He told the court that the van was driven at speeds in excess of 70mph in 50mph zones whilst also mounting footpaths in a desperate attempt by the driver to avoid arrest.

Eventually the van came to a stop and two men ran away with Caygill being caught nearby. The second person has not been identified.

Mr Witcombe said Caygill had served a short 20 week sentence for similar offences following his arrest in connection with the theft of the van. The court heard he had committed 70 previous offences.

Caygill, of Fairfax Court, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to two charges of handling stolen goods and one of aggravated vehicle taking on the day he was due to go on trial in November last year.

Stephen Littlewood, in mitigation, urged the judge to give his client a suspended sentence to enable him to continue to care for his ill partner.

"When he was being carried in the van he has tried to prevent the dangerous driving taking place," he said.

"He has shown remorse for what looks life a spree of offences between 2018 and 2019 after a gap of several years..

"What he says in his pre-sentence report was that it was driven by financial desperation at the time. He has spent a short bit of time in prison, which he hasn't done for some time, and it has had a sobering affect on him."

Judge Stephen Ashurst told Caygill 'it's clear that you consider arrest and prison sentences as an occupational hazard' as he jailed him for ten months and disqualified him from driving for 17 months.

He said there was some 'professional elements' to the crime and dismissed any theory that it was an 'opportunist offence'.