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Man fears home will be torched after turning getaway driver for yobs raiding van

An unsuspecting window fitter became the getaway driver for a gang of youths after they raided a van packed with thousands of pounds worth of Amazon parcels, a court has heard.

‘Impulsive’ Jamie Lakin claimed the young criminals began flinging undelivered Amazon parcels into his Vauxhall Astra after ‘flagging’ him down in the Black Country.

The 32-year-old, who works for retailer Safestyle UK, said he initially thought the youths were in trouble but soon realised they were up to ‘something dodgy’.

He remained tight-lipped, failing to give police names of any of the thieves who snatched the parcels, and now has to pay almost £2,500 to Amazon for the missing stock.

Lakin, of Walker Road, Bloxwich, also claimed cash on him at the time of arrest was to buy a new phone – despite cops finding three other phones in his car.

Dudley Magistrates’ Court heard a self-employed Amazon driver left his van unlocked in Walsall’s Stag Hill Road as he attempted to make a quick afternoon delivery.

Youths pounced on the hire van and emptied it of the stock before chucking it into Lakin’s car, the court heard.

Prosecutor Valerie Hart said: “At about 2.30pm [the Amazon worker] was driving his van, delivering parcels.

“He was in Stag Hill Road in Walsall and, as is common and maybe why this vehicle was targeted, the delivery van, in an attempt to deliver parcels quickly, is left unattended.

“He noticed the vehicle was being driven off. He was obviously concerned that the van, with it’s keys, was being stolen.

“It was reported to the police. Shortly after this, a member of the public saw a van and a Vauxhall Astra, registered to the defendant, in a cul-de-sac.

“The van’s parcels were being unloaded and the defendant was next to the vehicle and was seen holding a parcel from the stolen van.”

She added: “[Lakin told police] cash he had upon him at the time was to buy a new phone and the three phones in his vehicle all belonged to him.

“He denied police officers the pin number to these phones. None of the parcels were recovered.”

Defence solicitor Adil Khan said Lakin – who earns up to £600 a week with SafeStyle UK – had been stupid and impulsive.

The defendant, who had an ‘unblemished criminal record’, is now terrified the group of youths will set his house on fire.

Read more: Sentencing of ‘sadistic’ paedophile who posed as online sugar daddy adjourned

Mr Khan told the court on Thursday: “The time these parcels were in his vehicle was a number of minutes. However, he accepts that when these individuals got into his car, he suspected something dodgy.

“He is fearful of giving names and addresses [of others involved]. He thinks he might get some petrol through his letterbox and set alight. There is fear of reprisals.”

Lakin – who cares for his grandmother who has Alzheimer’s disease – admitted dishonestly undertaking or assisting in the retention, removal, disposal or realisation of stolen goods on July 23.

He was ordered to pay £2.363.59 compensation to Amazon, as well as a £35 fine and a £34 victim surcharge.

Mr Khan said: “He knows a number of individuals that live in the location. Some of these are youths, young men in their late teens and early twenties.

“He was at work and was on his way to meet a friend.

Read more: Pair accused of Tipton murder ‘thought victim was a paedophile”, court hears

“As he is driving, he is flagged down by a group of youths. He does not know any of them by name but by face. They are just people he sees around his estate.

“He stops his vehicle because he thinks “these lads are looking in trouble”. To his surprise, his Vauxhall Astra doors are opened and boxes become thrown in.

“He is told “quickly, quickly, drive. We need to get out of here, the police are on their way”.

“He allows these young men to get in the vehicle, [he] drives a short distance to the cul-de-sac in question, where there is already a vehicle in situ.

“The parcels are then transferred from his vehicle to this other van.”

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