Man in custody after digger rampage

A man who drove a JCB on a wrecking spree around a village, leaving a trail of destruction, was being held by police today.

The 34-year-old man was arrested yesterday following the incident at Church Warsop, near Mansfield, Notts, in which the digger caused damage in a cemetery and to fields and other vehicles.

The vehicle, believed to have been stolen, was driven into a car with a person inside it, through a cemetery wall, and damaged several headstones, Nottinghamshire Police said.

A police spokeswoman said it was spotted just before 6pm by a dog section officer who tried to pull the driver over because of the way it was being driven, but he instead drove it into an open field.

"The vehicle was travelling at around 15mph and so the officer got out of his vehicle and made further attempts to signal to the driver to stop," a spokeswoman said.

"Additional police resources were deployed including the police helicopter.

"The JCB continued onto a nearby lane where it hit a vehicle. The member of the public in the vehicle is not believed to have sustained serious injuries.

"The JCB proceeded along the A60 into a second field and then through a wall into the grounds of a cemetery on Cuckney Hill.

"A number of headstones were damaged by the JCB before it drove through a gate and came to stop after puncturing its tyre.

"Police immediately arrested the 34-year-old man driving the vehicle and he remains in police custody."

Nottinghamshire Police said the JCB is believed to have been stolen from the local area and police are trying to find the owner.

Inspector Alan Hamilton said: "The incident lasted for less than 10 minutes but in which time the JCB caused damage to fields, hedges, vehicles and within the cemetery.

"Members of the local community are clearly upset by the damage and local officers are at the cemetery reassuring the public.

"The local councillor will be contacted and we will work with the community to ascertain the full extent of the damage and to provide whatever assistance we can to them."