Man jailed for 10 years over 'terrifying' burglary at Fenland farm

Tevin Christy (left) has been jailed for ten years and Darren Smith (right) is wanted in connection with the burglary. 

Tevin Christy (left) has been jailed for ten years and Darren Smith (right) is wanted in connection with the burglary. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

A man who led police on a 35-minute pursuit, rammed a car and injured two officers was jailed for ten years for his part in a "terrifying" aggravated burglary at a Fenland farm.

Tevin Christy, 26, was one of five men who tried to get into Witcham Farm Cottage, in Purls Bridge Drove, Manea, on the afternoon of March 20 last year.

The 71-year-old homeowner and his 49-year-old son were fixing cars in the garden of the country house when a white Ford Transit pulled up.

Some of the group wore high-vis vests and were carrying small parcels to look like delivery men.

Two ran into the house and began searching the property, while others demanded “where is the other car?” and started searching the sheds and outbuildings.

Three of the group beat the father, knocking him to the ground where he was repeatedly punched and kicked, as well as having an ammonia solution sprayed over him - however, he was able to protect his skin using his jacket.

His son was also sprayed in the face before being chased while having bricks thrown at him and the group again shouted “where is the car?”.

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He was hit over the head, causing a deep cut, but managed to escape and run down the road, only to realise he’d lost his mobile phone.

The group continued to search the property and outbuildings before making off in the van.

Just over an hour later, the van came to the attention of police in Essex who were carrying out speed checks in the Dunmow West Interchange area.

After being clocked at 87mph, officers caught up with the van and signalled for it to exit the dual carriageway, but it didn’t stop.

Instead, the lone male driver – Christy – lead officers on a dangerous 35-minute pursuit from Great Dunmow to Chelmsford.

Christy rammed the police car, causing injuries to two officers and damage to the car, but came to a stop when all four tyres were punctured by a stinger.

Unaware of the Manea burglary, the Essex officers arrested him for several driving offences, and he appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court two days later.

He admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, assaulting an emergency worker, criminal damage, driving without insurance and failing to stop for a constable.

He was sent to HMP Chelmsford to await sentencing on April 19.

Officers would also like help in identifying another man in the CCTV image.

Officers would also like help in identifying another man, anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV image should contact Cambridgeshire police. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

In the meantime, Cambridgeshire officers identified Christy as being involved in the Manea burglary and he was arrested at HMP Chelmsford on 13 April.

Christy, of Hookfield, Harlow, Essex, was found guilty of aggravated burglary, assault causing GBH without intent, assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) and common assault on 14 December, following a trial at Cambridge Crown Court.

He appeared at the same court on Tuesday (8 March) where he was sentenced to a total of ten years in prison for both the Cambridgeshire and Essex offences.

Detective Sergeant Justin Parr, from Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Acquisitive Crime Team (ACT), said: “This was a terrifying, targeted home invasion at an isolated rural property by an armed group.

“Our investigation is not over, we continue to pursue others who played a part in the events that day and I would appeal to the public to get in touch if they have any information.”

Darren Smith, 51, of School Road, Rayne, Braintree, Essex, is wanted in connection with the burglary. Anyone who knows of his whereabouts is urged to get in touch.

Officers would also like help in identifying another man, anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV image should contact Cambridgeshire police.

Anyone with information about the burglary is urged to contact Cambridgeshire police online either through the reporting form at www.cambs.police.uk/report or via the webchat function at https://bit.ly/3Jz2I9Y and quote 35/16352/21.

Those without internet access should call 101.