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Burglar ploughs through traffic in botched getaway − jailed for almost 10 years

A burglar who targeted high-value cars at homes across the Midlands tried driving a stolen Mini through queuing traffic in a desperate bid to shrug off pursuing police.

But Martin Tolan’s botched getaway was foiled as West Midlands Police officers swarmed around the convertible − and he’s now been jailed for almost a decade for a series of ‘car-key’ burglaries. 

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CCTV shows vehicles backed up at Bristol Road lights on 12 April before Tolan careers into them behind the wheel of the Mini that had been taken from a driveway in Binley Close, Solihull, in the early hours of 1 April.

The 28-year-old, from Central Avenue in Northfield, shunts several waiting cars in an attempt to force his way through the queue.

But cops quickly surround him and use batons to shatter its windows before pulling him from the vehicle.

Enquiries suggested unemployed Tolan was linked to burglaries in Marlbrook, Bromsgrove, on 9 April in addition to the Solihull break-in.

He was released on bail to give police more time to seize evidence and receive DNA results but was arrested again on 23 May after three more burglaries in which door locks had been snapped off − a tactic employed by Tolan.

Detectives recovered high-definition security camera footage from the home of a CCTV engineer in Nuthurst Road, Northfield, showing Tolan breaking in at 2.30am on 18 May just 30 minutes after stealing a Nissan Qashqai from outside a home in Bartley Crescent.

And he was also among a group who struck at an address in Cofton Park Drive, Rednal, in the early hours of May 23 and made off in a Mercedes C-Class and an Audi A5.

Tolan was arrested later that day by which time forensic analysis of a wrench left on a sofa at the Marlbrook, Bromsgrove, burglary returned a DNA match to Tolan.

He admitted multiple burglaries, dangerous driving, handling stolen goods and theft − and at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday (27 July) was jailed for a total of nine years and 11 months.

West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Toni Holl, said: “Residents can sleep more soundly knowing Tolan is behind bars: we have proved he was responsible for at least five burglaries but it’s suspected he was linked to more.

“Several of his victims were woken to find him intruding in their homes while others only found their cars gone in the morning. 

“No-one was injured but I’m glad the court has recognised the prolific nature of Tolan’s offending, plus the psychological impact burglary can have on victims, and jailed him for a long time."


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