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Low speed chase: man helps cops catch drunken forklift thief

STRANGE BUT TRUE: Mechanic Stephen Ford with the forklift stolen from Lismore Tractor and Machinery and taken for a, err, spin. "Why you’d take a forklift I don’t know," he said. "It only does 15km/h’.
STRANGE BUT TRUE: Mechanic Stephen Ford with the forklift stolen from Lismore Tractor and Machinery and taken for a, err, spin. "Why you’d take a forklift I don’t know," he said. "It only does 15km/h’. Doug Eaton

A MODANVILLE man involved in the low speed pursuit of a forklift, allegedly stolen by a drunken disqualified Nimbin man, has helped police catch the culprit.

Chris Ruane was visiting a mate on Sunday afternoon, on Tweed St at North Lismore at about 5.30pm, when he heard an almighty bang and saw Lismore Tractor and Machinery Centre owner Trent Martin's forklift being driven along the road.

"I knew it was Trent's forklift, but I knew it wasn't one of his blokes driving it, and it had just crashed through the front gates," he said.

"So I jumped in the car and started following him slowly and called the police."

Why you'd take a forklift, I don't know. It only does 15km/h.

 

Keeping a distance of about 50 metres, Mr Ruane relayed information to the police while the forklift turned left into Lake St and rattled along the dirt road.

"I think he might of noticed me, so he ditched the forklift, ran away on foot and I drove up beside him and said 'stop the police are on the way'."

When the 23-year-old ran off down the side of AJ Magnay Building Materials, Mr Ruane spotted a group of five 18-20 year-olds and alerted them to the situation.

LOW SPEED PUSUIT: The front gate destroyed after a forklift was stolen and driven through the fence at Lismore Tractor & Machinery on Sunday evening in North Lismore.
LOW SPEED PUSUIT: The front gate destroyed after a forklift was stolen and driven through the fence at Lismore Tractor & Machinery on Sunday evening in North Lismore. Doug Eaton

"I went around to the next street and he was jumping over a house fence there and I said give yourself up, the police are on their way."

A search of the man allegedly uncovered a quantity of cannabis in his pocket, while a half full can of rum and coke was found on the fork lift.

Lismore police Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said the man was taken to Lismore police station where he registered a mid-range blood alcohol reading of .108.

Det Insp Kehoe said the man was charged with mid-range drink driving, possess prohibited drug, drive while disqualified, take and drive conveyance, malicious damage and two counts of entering enclosed lands.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear at Lismore Local Court in September.

Lismore Tractor and Machinery Centre boilermaker Rodney Bryant said it was the first time the business had been broken-in to.

"Why you'd take a forklift, I don't know," he said laughing.

"It only does 15km/h."

Topics:  car chase, crime, editors picks, theft



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