A Southam man who was stranded in Gaydon in the middle of the night, with no way of getting home, found his way to the Aston Martin headquarters – and drove off in a £200,000 super car.
By a bizarre coincidence, that night there was a problem with the car manufacturer’s electronic security system which allowed Jason Boon, 45, of Mill Crescent, to walk into the premises and drive out.
Because of what on any ordinary car would be classed as minor, the damage he caused to the Aston Martin DB11 led to it being written off, a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard.
But Boon escaped being jailed after the judge said he was satisfied his actions had been impulsive rather than a planned raid on the premises.
He was sentenced to 10 months in prison suspended for two years after pleading guilty to burgling the Aston Martin works at Gaydon, aggravated vehicle taking and having no insurance.
Unemployed Boon was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay £200 costs.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that at the close of business on May 5, an Aston Martin DB11 worth £200,000 was among the cars secure in the company’s headquarters at Gaydon.
He said: “At shortly before 5.40 the next morning the police were alerted to a situation where an Aston Martin was being driven up and down Mill Crescent in Southam.
“They went there and found the car, which had no registration number, and a police dog tracked Mr Boon to a nearby house. He had the key to that car, some Aston Martin paperwork, and a key fob relating to another Aston Martin.”
It was found that those items had been taken from an office during a burglary at the car firm’s factory.
When he was questioned, Boon said he had been out with two friends who had abandoned him following an argument.
He said he found his way to the factory compound and found it was full of Aston Martins, so went into the office, got the keys and began to drive one of them around.
Boon added that he was then surprised when the gate opened and he was able to drive out – so he did so and drove home.
Mr Windridge pointed out: “It would seem that, by an unfortunate coincidence, Aston Martin had some difficulties that night with its security system which kept cutting out, with doors opening randomly – and at the time he was driving round, the system failed and the door opened.”
The DB11 Boon took had suffered scuff marks and wheel rim damage by the time it was recovered – which the company says means it will have to be written off because it cannot be sold as new and, with no registered keeper, cannot be sold as a used vehicle.
Paul O’Keeffe, defending, said: “He was out with friends, and they had a disagreement, and he was kicked out of the car.
“He didn’t know where he was, so walked to higher ground to get his bearings. He saw lights in the distance and walked towards them, and it happened to be the Aston Martin factory.”
Once he got there, he went inside and in an office he found the keys and paperwork which he took as ‘trophies.’
“He tried one of the cars, and it started up. He drove round the factory and then found the gate open, and he drove out. He drove to a friend’s home and then drove round.”
Mr O’Keefe said Boon had lived for some years in America, where he has two children, but then returned, and his estranged wife in America was making it difficult for him to have contact with the children.
“He was feeling in a very low place at the time. Once he found himself in the Aston Martin factory with no-one about, it was, as he put it, ‘one hundred percent heaven.’”
Sentencing Boon, Recorder Alastair Smith told him: “The facts of this case are highly unusual. But for the confirmation of Mr Windridge, they would seem incredible.
“Had I come to the view that this was a targeted operation to steal a valuable vehicle, you would have been facing a substantial custodial sentence. But your actions were impulsive in a unique set of circumstances.”