Man jailed for five years after car theft rampage over 45 minutes in Leigh and Basildon

A man has been jailed for five years over a series of attempted car thefts.

On September 26 last year, Levi Whalley forced his way into three cars, and tried to get into several others, threatening the drivers in the Leigh and Basildon areas over a space of about 45 minutes.

At around 8.50am, a woman was sitting in her blue Peugeot at traffic lights at the junction of London Road and Herschell Road in Leigh-on-Sea when Whalley approached the vehicle, opened the door and shouted at her to get out.

He assaulted her and threatened her before driving off in the car.

Shortly after, police received a call from a member of the public who saw the stolen Peugeot being driven with blown out tyres on the London-bound A127 near Southend.

The caller reported the driver stopped the car before then trying to get into others.

A short time later, another driver reported seeing the Peugeot on a slip road just off the A127 naer Basildon at which point they pulled over to offer their help.

Whalley, got into the other driver’s car, threatened him and demanded he get out before the driver drove off with both of them still in the car. He stopped a short while later at the Noke Bridge turn off before Whalley got out and headed towards Basildon town centre.

He subsequently tried to get into two other vehicles, including pulling a woman out of hers and trying to drive off before being apprehended by members of the public.

Officers arrived and Whalley was arrested. He was later charged with one count of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, one count of failing to provide a specimen for analysis, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Whalley, 33, of no fixed address, denied the charges but was convicted on Monday October 23 following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Sawyer said: “In a 45-minute period Levi Whalley threatened a number of people in a terrifying series of incidents.

“His actions caused those involved a significant amount of distress that will likely stay with them for some time.”