Ruel Craig, a drug dealer, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison following his arrest in Leeds. Craig was apprehended with crack cocaine and heroin after attempting to escape from a stolen vehicle during a police chase. The 26-year-old was also found wearing a stab vest, and officers discovered a machete and two combat knives inside the car.
The incident occurred on December 31 of last year, shortly before 1 pm, when officers in a marked police vehicle on Armley Road in Leeds spotted a recently reported stolen Mercedes C220. The vehicle rapidly pulled out of a line of slow-moving traffic, prompting the pursuing officers to give chase.
During the pursuit, the stolen Mercedes was driven recklessly, reaching speeds of 70mph in 40mph zones. The driver ignored give-way signs and swerved dangerously across multiple lanes, narrowly avoiding collisions with other vehicles. The chase ultimately ended when the Mercedes crashed into another car and a van at the junction of Park Lane and the A58 and Inner Ring Road.
As the collision occurred, Craig fled from the driver’s seat while three other males escaped from the passenger side and fled in the opposite direction. One officer pursued Craig onto an elevated footbridge, where he jumped approximately 12ft down to a grass bank in an attempt to escape. Craig then crossed the A58 before entering a vehicle tunnel against oncoming traffic heading towards Wellington Street.
Officers intercepted him as he exited the 60-meter tunnel stretch, successfully detaining him. Upon searching Craig, authorities discovered he was wearing a black stab vest, a balaclava, and black gloves. Additionally, they found individual wraps of crack cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of £190, a small quantity of cannabis, and £885 in cash.
Further examination of the stolen Mercedes led to the discovery of a machete and two combat knives in the front passenger side footwell. Footage from the police vehicle’s camera, which pursued the suspects, appeared to show one of the passengers carrying an additional machete as they fled the scene of the crash.
Craig underwent drug testing while in police custody, which yielded negative results for both heroin and cocaine. This indicated that he was not a regular user of either substance. Subsequently, following an investigation by officers from the Leeds District Crime Team, Craig faced several charges, including possession of crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply, as well as dangerous driving.
On Monday, at Leeds Crown Court, Craig pleaded guilty to the drug-related charges and was sentenced to 50 months in prison. In addition, he received a consecutive four-month term for admitting dangerous driving and a concurrent three-month sentence for possessing criminal property in relation to the seized cash.
Detective Sergeant Rob Kennerley, from the Leeds District Crime Team, commented on the case, stating, “The offences Craig has been convicted of show him to be someone involved in the destructive trade in Class A drugs, which fuels crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities and does significant damage to the lives of individual users and their families.”
Kennerley added, “He was also prepared to put the safety of other members of the public at risk when he attempted to evade officers at the wheel of a stolen car. We hope the significant prison sentence he has received will provide some reassurance to the community and send a clear message to others who think they can flout the law in this way without having to face the consequences.”