back to article Cops taser JCB thief in 'slowest police chase ever'

A Surrey man who stole a JCB, provoked the "the slowest police chase ever", shrugged off a tasering and was cuffed only when the mechanical digger shed its tracks was earlier this week convicted of the vehicle's theft and dangerous driving, the Surrey Advertiser reports. William Smith, 29, of Nutfield, made off with the JCB …


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  1. Alex

    William Smith, 29, of Nutfield

    'nuff said

  2. Joe

    How big a JCB are we talking here?

    One of those mini ones you get on roadworks or a proper monster one?

  3. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Up


    I've often wondered why police helicopters weren't armed with TOW missiles, which could bring most car chases to a rapid and successful conclusion. The use of a non-lethal weapon in this case, though, is interesting and probably more acceptable to the lilly-livered-liberals, together with the AA and other roads lobbyists. Extrapolating the situation up to a faster-moving perp vehicle and closed windows complicates things somewhat, but I'm sure there are technical solutions out there somewhere.

  4. Greg

    Why did they send an ARU in the first place?

    A car gets nicked, they send a pursuit car.

    A really slow JCB gets nicked, they send an ARU.


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So an out of control JCB is better than a stolen JCB?

    Seriously, they teach the Met not to shoot guns at moving vehicles, why don't they teach the same about tasers?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: How big a JCB are we talking here?

    Does not matter. Any of them can be used to dig out a cash machine from a wall. That is what they are usually stolen for.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And we're holding up the bypass

    "And we're holding up the bypass.... ouch ouch ouch stop tasering me officer.... ouch ouch"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How on earth do you shrug off a tasering? Was it a lousy shot, or was he wearing thick clothes or what? Surely even if you can handle the pain, it still makes you spazz out?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Tasering a driver?

    I wonder if there are any guidelines about tasering people whilst they're driving on a public highway. Not that I can think of any other way of safely stopping a tracked JCB.

  10. Anonymous John

    Can't think of a title.

    We want a Playmobil reconstruction.

  11. Anonymous Coward



    Why? You do realise it's an acronym, don't you? PC = Police Constable. "Pc" would generally mean "piece" (ref: "pcs", pieces).

    As for the JCB man, he tried to defend himself by saying the police distracted him? Did nobody think to ask why the police officer was there in the first place? Circular logic. Deserves what he gets.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I just linked to the JCB song and realized it's an ASBO song.

    1. "I'm glad I'm not in school" = truant

    2. "Holding up the bypass" = inconsiderate driving

    3. "Sitting on the toolbox" = passenger without seatbelt

    4. "the prosession of cars behind are getting all angry but we don't mind..." = creating road rage

    5. "and pull off again speeding"... speeding? That's a caning!

    6. "transforming into a tyrannosaurus rex and eat up all the bullies", = cannibalism!

    7. "with Bruce Lee's num chuks" = possession of deadly weapons!

    OMG! Jackie quick pull some knee jerk law out of your ass and ban it... just like you usually do!

  13. Toby Murcott

    I blame the music...

    ... Nizlopi clearly have a lot to answer for.

  14. Pink Duck


    You do realise "PC" isn't an acronym, don't you? As the letters are pronounced individually it is an initialism. See

  15. Simon
    Paris Hilton


    WTF is a JCB?

    /Paris, because she doesn't know either.

  16. Yorkshirepudding
    Thumb Up

    @ Anonymous John

    i second that a playmobil reconstruction forthwith!

  17. Edward Miles


    "Don't taze me bro!" comment.

  18. David Cornes

    @"Why did they send an ARU in the first place?"

    Maybe 'cos the plods were out doing some work (arresting trafficked paedophile terrorist photographers?), and the tooled-up ones were sat around at the station polishing their glocks again!

  19. Hedley Phillips

    11 convictions already.... Time to throw away the key

    Chav thieving scum

  20. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Excuse me?

    I thought tazers were to be used instead of guns.

    Would someone making a very ... slow ... getaway ... ("we'll never catch them, who's up for a beer?") be deserving of a gunshot?



    Because the pissant little fairies in blue may have got a hurty wurty?

  21. Peter Simpson
    Thumb Up

    Taser-proof clothing

    There exist conductive fabrics ( which will short out a Taser's "zap", allowing you to continue doing whatever you were doing without distraction...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    He should have gone to digger land instead!

  23. Mike Fortey
    Thumb Up


    "Because the pissant little fairies in blue may have got a hurty wurty?"

    Because anyone else could have got hurt by the bloody great monstrosity, perfectly capable of driving over a car? It's a danger to the public.

    Or would you prefer it for them to have tried to climb inside a large moving vehicle and to struggle theatrically with the driver?

    They should have used a real firearm.

  24. Keith Williams
    IT Angle


    I was wondering that too, so I checked with wiki<youknowwhere>

    "JCB, or J. C. Bamford (Excavators) Ltd. as it is more properly known, is a family business named after its founder J. C. Bamford, producing distinctive yellow-and-black engineering vehicles, diggers ("Backhoes"), excavators, tractors, and diesel engines. In the UK, the word "JCB" is sometimes used colloquially as a genericised description for any such type of engineering vehicle, now appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary, although it is still held as a trademark. JCB now makes over 300 types of machines for construction, industry, and agriculture. In 2007 the company's turnover was £2.25 billion."

    Proably in this case it's a mini-excavator. "the mechanical digger shed its tracks " but since the PC was able to attempt to taser the thief, it sounds like they were at a level, which a full sized excavator would not be the case.

  25. Peyton

    Rubber tracks?

    Could that explain why the tasering didn't work according to plan?

  26. Mark

    @Mike Fortey

    How about the risk to THE PUBLIC (whom they serve in public trust) when a JCB is driven by an unconscious man?

    If they wouldn't use a gun to stop him (and they wouldn't) but they WOULD use a tazer, then the tazer, unlike the promises made, are not a replacement for guns, they're a replacement for dealing with the problems.

  27. Michael Fremlins

    Why send an armed response unit

    Typical police over reaction.

  28. Simon
    Thumb Up

    @ Keith Williams

    Thanks Keith.

    We'd commonly refer to those as a "Bobcat" in my neck of the woods. (Canada)

  29. Luther Blissett


    JCB is the French form of BSE.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Simon from Canada

    Different places have different brands then, I guess. It's only big international brands (think Hoover, Xerox or Viagra) which become known by everyone. Back here we all grew up knowing just exactly what a JCB was - although I must admit, I never actually bothered to find out what the letters stood for!

  31. Marvin the Martian

    10-15mph "jog"?

    If he expects to sustain that speed for a pursuit [hypothetically, until fuel runs out], he's a super-olympic athlete I guess.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Perhaps the thief thought it was this JCB

    I don't think many police pursuit cars would catch it - in a straight line, anyway!

    Paris because I think she's quite pretty really. No other reason.

  33. David Eddleman


    "Smith, who boasts 11 previous convictions for 19 offences"

    Why the hell wasn't this guy locked up already? Seriously?

    Simon: There's Bobcats (we have 'em here in Southern California), Caterpillars, and more.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    brandishing a bright yellow gun should have been a shiny metal one and do up the job right.

    Let's see...11 priors. Oh yeah, career crim here. Let's just slap him on the wrist and turn

    'im loose on society to do more mischief. Maybe a fitting with one of those exploding neck

    collars would do the trick.

  35. daniel

    @ Greg.

    The reason it was an ARU is that they double as traffic units. They are treated as traffic units until such a time that fire arms are needed then they in effect become an ARU

  36. Martin Silver badge

    @Simon from Canada

    I was working in Canada and talking about a JCB - nobody knew what i meant.

    I wish you guys would learn to speak English.

    Apparently they are called "back-hoes" not "yellow digger things" which was the only translation I could come up with.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Luther Blissett

    You owe me a keyboard.

  38. Stevie


    What kind of JCB has tracks anyway? JCBs should have big front wheels, hucking fuge rear wheels, a front shovel, a backhoe and a pair of hydraulic jacks mounted just aft of the wheels.

    Never would have happened in my day.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    <perk> Hoe

    Hey, U callin' me a hoe?

  40. Steve Roper


    To add to the terminological discussion here, in Australia we also call these vehicles "Bobcats" (small wheeled diggers) and "Caterpillars" or "Cats" (tracked bulldozers / backhoes; bulldozer is often shortened to "'Dozer"). "Front-end loader" is also quite common referring to front-bucket diggers. "Grader" is a long wheeled vehicle with a diagonally-positioned blade in the middle, used for leveling road surfaces.

    Bobcat and Caterpillar are both the names of companies that build these vehicles, hence the common naming between here, Canada and the US. I've never heard the term JCB before now though, even though I was born in the UK and lived there for the first 7 years of my life (late 60s - early 70s). As a kid, I heard these vehicles called "diggers" and "bulldozers" but I don't recall them being referred to by a brand name at that time.

  41. kain preacher


    Should of said bob cat or caterpillar ..

  42. Daniel Wilkie


    Why send an ARU?

    It depends on the force area I guess, but in most they double as traffic units since they are usually pursuit trained and the cars are up to it. Since they often have a lower workload it makes sense rather than having them sat around the station waiting for a comparitively rare (in most areas compared to traffic) firearms incident.

    As for the tasering, I'm curious as to how you'd have attempted to stop a JCB. It's not like a tactical stop is going to work, or stingers, or boxing it in. And it would be too dangerous to jump into the cab - all it would take is a size 10 in your face to throw you onto the tracks. It's probably got a decent sized fuel tank so can keep going for a reasonably long time, and if the drivers already swerved at the copper, who's to say he won't start swerving at pedestrians or drive into someones house? The officer was probably hoping that once he'd been tasered he'd have given up. It's a logical assumption.

    And of course tasers aren't replacements for firearms - they have an effective range of around 5 meters. They fill a similar role to the H&K Baton gun but on a more general issue, IE they provide a less lethal option for use generally on suspects armed with a weapon other than firearms, who would previously have been shot. However the intention is clearly to slot them below this even - Baton guns require you to be firearms qualified and then (in the MDP at least) do an additional course to qualify on the Baton Gun itself.

    I'm assuming the officer believed that after being tasered the driver would give up. It's not an unreasonable assumption in my mind - if someone shot me with a taser and I knew they could do it again and again, I'd stop what I was doing and comply. Wouldn't you?

  43. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Up

    police did ok

    I think the police did alright !

    Common a digger can cause some serious damage,

    and as for an uncocious man at the wheel, well its sounds like they wernt exactly in the middle of the city if he stuck in a field !

    So before we condemn the police for tazering somebody when we dont know the situation fully !!!

    Anyway he said the guy swerved at him, damn i would tazer somebody just for tailgating me !!!

  44. Mark

    @Lionel Baden


    "Common a digger can cause some serious damage,"

    does not align with this:

    "and as for an uncocious man at the wheel, well its sounds like they wernt exactly in the middle of the city if he stuck in a field !"

    The problem here is that the police LIED.

    Tazers are NOT being used instead of guns.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ all "back-hoes" refernces..

    Snort ~ snigger ~ Arf Arf etc...

    Paris 'cos... see above.

    Oh come one - someone had to say it!

  46. Mad Mike
    Paris Hilton

    Use of Tasers

    I think the issue here is not the use of the taser per se. It was probably the most obvious choice under the circumstances. However, when they were introduced, it was said they would be used only when the only other alternative is to open fire with live ammunition. i.e. immediately below firearms. Therefore, use in these circumstances was not within their original stated case.

    So, just like in the US and elsewhere, tasers are going to become more and more common and used more and more in any situation even remotely dangerous. You only have to look at the US to see what will start happening here. Drunk and a bit stoppy, that'll be a tasering for you.

    Paris - Cos she knows what a policemans real weapon should be line - a truncheon.

  47. Jon Pick


    We call 'em Big Yellow Trowels.

  48. john bertelsen

    Tracked JCB

    Years ago (1980's) JCB used to make a tracked front end loader. It was quite quick. Had the opportunity to operate one briefly moving some snow around.


  49. Stuart Gepp

    The police need bigger guns

    A couple of 12 gauge slugs to the engine would have stopped it.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ 11 convictions already....

    Time to throw away the key

    Can't help but agree.

  51. David S

    Stopping a JCB

    I have it on good authority (I read it somewhere) that you simply need to lie down in front of it, wearing a dressing gown. I'll let someone else put it to the test though.

    Mine's the knee-length terry one, with the towel in one pocket...

  52. Mark

    @Tracked JCB

    I wouldn't mind if electronic ignitions could be told remotely to stop putting petrol in the engine. As long as it's done slowly, this doesn't endanger a genuine mistake (on the motorway, someone's wireless PDA confuses your engine and things it should stop in the motorway) yet also would stop cars whanging about for half an hour before pranging into a tree/house/car/....

    Professional criminals would remove it, but then again, most car crime is someone nicking a car for a one-off job or for joyriding. No time to remove this.

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