‘Reckless’ thief drives stolen car through airport fence and onto runway at 80mph

A car thief crashed through airport fencing and careered onto the runway at up to 80mph, leaving an aircraft running low on fuel circling above.

Police picture of Matthew Dobson

Matthew Dobson was jailed at Grimsby Crown Court for three years and eight months after earlier pleading guilty to a number of driving offences and a charge of recklessly endangering an aircraft in Grimsby.

On the morning of August 5, Dobson, 40, of no fixed abode, stole a set of car keys to a Renault Clio from a house in Grimsby, and drove off leaving the owner locked in her property.

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Having evaded the police, he made his way to Humberside Airport at Kirmington, near Grimsby, where he crashed through mesh fencing and onto the runway.

Driving underneath the path of a helicopter in the process of taking off, he accelerated to around 80mph down the main runway, before coming to rest in a field. Dobson then abandoned the car, and was later found lying down in the grass in an attempt to hide himself. When challenged, he said he was a farmer.

A KLM passenger flight was due to land as this incident was unfolding. It was put in a holding pattern and had seven minutes left to divert to a different airfield to ensure it had enough fuel left to land somewhere safely.

Jeremy Evans, Crown Advocate, for the Crown Prosecution Service in Yorkshire, said: “This bizarre crime spree was extraordinarily dangerous and reckless, putting many people’s lives at risk.

“Matthew Dobson acted with utter impunity and demonstrated a complete and appalling lack of concern for his or anyone else’s safety.”

Dobson pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to several offences including burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.