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24 Hours in Police Custody: Outraged viewers raise £100,000 for man jailed after chasing criminals from his home

Adam White (Channel 4)
Television viewers have donated thousands of pounds to Adam White after his ordeal featured in a documentary that aired this week. (Channel 4)

Well-wishers have donated £100,000 to an electrician jailed for chasing two burglars and running them off the road less than 48 hours after his story was featured in TV documentary 24 Hours in Police Custody.

Adam White said he was humbled by the generosity of strangers – including one anonymous donor who has given £15,000.

"There are no words really," he told Yahoo News UK. "It's absolutely crazy and completely humbling."

The 34-year-old was sentenced to 22 months in prison in February for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, after he drove his car in pursuit of two criminals on a stolen motorbike who targeted his home in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in September 2019.

He was released in September, and is now wearing an ankle tag, while the two burglars, Taylor Benford and Ryan Paul, both 25, avoided prison sentences and are now suing him after they were injured when they crashed during the pursuit.

Watch: Adam White and his wife thank 24 Hours in Police Custody viewers for support

White's case featured in an episode of Channel 4's documentary series, broadcast on Monday, and sparked an outpouring of sympathy for the electrician and his family.

A GoFundMe page was set up by a stranger to help pay his legal fees, and by Thursday morning had tipped over £100,000.

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White said he was shocked by the kindness of people who had donated, many of whom are complete strangers.

"It's actually put a stride in my step and given me confidence," he said.

"It also takes a huge weight off us – the GoFundMe says I had spent £50,000 of my life savings, but a large part of that wasn't savings, it was loans and credit cards. Now we can pay all of that off and we have a bit of peace of mind."

Adam and wife Lindsay have been left speechless by people's generosity. (Adam White)
White and his wife Lindsay have been left speechless by people's generosity. (Adam White)

The donations include a whopping £15,000 from an anonymous donor, which White said he made him "feel sick".

"I was in tears when the donations started to come in – and £100,000 is just absolutely crazy," he added.

The electrical worker has struggled to return to the work he previously did due to his criminal record, but has managed to secure employment doing domestic jobs.

Being banned from driving following the incident has also made things difficult, but White said the cash donated by well-wishers means he may be able to employ someone who he can rely on to take him to various jobs.

"It's such a weight off my shoulders because everything revolves around money – and if you haven't got it, you haven't got it."

White's case featured in Monday's episode of 24 Hours In Police Custody. (Channel 4)
White's case featured in Monday's episode of 24 Hours In Police Custody. (Channel 4)

White had been at home with his wife, Lindsay, 34, and their two children, aged 10 and 12, when Benford and Paul, who have a string of criminal convictions, tried to break into their garage with a crowbar and bolt cutters. They targeted White after posing as buyers of a motorbike he was selling online.

They later pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to attempted burglary and were given suspended sentences and 200 hours community service, while White was jailed for 22 months.

His wife, who was six weeks pregnant at the time of the attempted burglary, decided to have an abortion because her husband faced the prospect of going to prison. The couple have children from previous relationships but not together.

While the ordeal remains heartbreaking for the couple and left them "in limbo" since the incident three years ago, White said people's kindness had gone some way in restoring his faith in humanity.

"It's been humbling seeing everyone's comments saying the country is behind you and stuff like that, it's really heartwarming.

"It's boosted my confident and made me think people aren't that bad. It's restored my faith in humanity."

White in police bodycam footage after he ran two burglars off the road in September 2019. (Channel 4)
White in police bodycam footage after he ran two burglars off the road in September 2019. (Channel 4)

He said the main thing he hoped would come from the situation was to see more police on the streets in Leighton Buzzard to deter criminals.

"On local Facebook groups pretty much every day there's someone saying a motorbike has been stolen, it's happening all the time," he said.

Bedfordshire Police has admitted that cases can often "divide opinion" but cautioned that victims should not take the law into their own hands.

In a statement, the force said: "Our officers work incredibly hard to put criminals before the courts and disrupt their activities, but we know that the outcomes received do not always tell the full story. In this case, there were no winners.

"This episode is an important reminder that people must not take the law into their own hands. Such actions can have enormous consequences."