Thief rammed police officers in escape bid

John Paul McKeever was traced by police for stealing car batteries from the recycling centre in Bellshill
John Paul McKeever was traced by police for stealing car batteries from the recycling centre in Bellshill

Two police officers were injured when their car was rammed as a thief tried to escape from them.

John Paul McKeever, who’d stolen car batteries from a recycling centre, was chased as he fled at speed through residential areas of Bellshill.

McKeever (48), of Greenlaw Avenue, Coltness, got away but his vehicle was traced and he appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court to admit charges of theft and dangerous driving.

Paula Russell, prosecuting, said he was caught on CCTV breaking into the North Lanarkshire council recycling centre in Jubilee Way, Bellshill, shortly before 6am on September 6.

He used a large pair of bolt cutters to get into the yard and grabbed batteries worth around £200 before leaving.

However, police were on the scene almost immediately and McKeever fled, crashing through gates then accelerating towards a police car.

Ms Russell said he rammed the front of the police vehicle, leaving PCs Barry McGuire and Ainsley McKnight with minor injuries.

Their car could not be restarted and although other officers joined in the chase McKeever evaded them as he clocked what the prosecution described as “grossly excessive” speeds through Main Street, past the police station in Thorn Road and on to Noble Road, Motherwell Road and Calder Road.

He ignored Give Way signs and police orders to stop while another driver had to swerve to avoid a collision.

McKeever, who was on bail for other matters at the time, was arrested later and has been in custody since.

Defence agent Bobby Reid said the dad of two has a drug problem and has been attending addiction services in prison.

Sheriff Marie Smart called for background reports and deferred sentence until January 18. McKeever was allowed bail.