Man stole Range Rovers and Ford Fiestas from Chelmsford then tried to sell them online

Jay Hennessey, 19, from Chelmsford, has been jailed
Jay Hennessey, 19, from Chelmsford, has been jailed -Credit:Essex Police

A car thief who stole at least five vehicles from various Essex addresses crashed into a roadsign and fled on foot when police caught him trying to steal another car. Jay Hennessey was traced to multiple stolen vehicles - including one where he had left a fingerprint on a bag inside the car.

Hennessey, 19, from Chelmsford, would steal the Ford Fiestas, Range Rovers and EcoSport models before trying to sell them for his own gain online. He has now been locked up following his spree between September 30 and December 31, 2023.

The cars, which were all stolen from addresses in Chelmsford, were keyless entry vehicles. Police officers were on patrol shortly before 12.30pm on Saturday, December 30, on the A414 near Radley Green, when a check on a black Ford Fiesta revealed it to be stolen.

Read more: Schoolboy, 14, killed in 'truly horrific' sword attack in Hainault is named locally

Also read: Attempted murder investigation launched in Southend after woman stabbed multiple times in home

The Ford had stopped in a layby, but upon the activation of the police car’s blue lights, it made off. A pursuit followed, with the Ford reaching high speeds in a built-up residential area with a 30mph limit. The vehicle eventually collided with a roadside sign and an electricity box followed by the driver jumping out and fleeing on foot.

Officers gave chase, arresting Hennessey in nearby Havisham Way. Screenshots found in his phone detailed the offering of multiple Ford Fiestas and Ford EcoSports for sale. One of the images featured a white Ford Fiesta stolen from a driveway on October 13 which Hennessey offered for sale.

Police were also able to link Hennessey forensically to the theft of a Ford EcoSport on October 19, after finding his fingerprint on a bag left inside the vehicle. At Chelmsford Crown Court he admitted five counts of theft of a motor vehicle and one count of attempted theft of another.

He further admitted careless driving, driving without insurance and without a valid license and breaching a suspended sentence order. On Tuesday (April 3), he was sentenced to 39 months detention in a young offenders' institution.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston said: “Last year we made significant inroads tackling people we believed to be involved in targeting specific models of vehicle in the Chelmsford area. This included the key arrest and charges in the case of Hennessey.

Get more court and crime news from EssexLive straight to your inbox for FREE

“This case involved good police work from the moment of the pursuit being engaged with a suspected stolen Ford model, through to the forensic evidence gathered from some of the vehicles in question. It is proof of our commitment to prioritise theft and burglary, as it doesn’t take much of an imagination to picture the distress this type of offending causes to victims across Essex.

“Theft and burglary of any kind are key focuses for us and are never seen as minor crime. Work goes on across many teams, often unseen, to identify the perpetrators committing these crimes in our communities and bring them to justice.

“Not only are officers responding to reports of burglaries and theft, working to gather vital evidence and arrest those responsible, but we are also working to reduce the number of burglaries happening by ensuring people across Essex know how to protect their homes, businesses and property, including going door-to-door to share crime prevention tools and advice.

“There are some really simple steps people can take to reduce their risk: Always lock your doors and windows, keep items of value out of view, don’t make it easy to hide at the front of your property and keep sheds and garages locked too. This might seem like simple advice, but many burglaries and thefts are opportunistic, so put these measures in place.”