A man has been jailed after stealing high-value watches in York and putting lives at risk through his reckless attempt to flee police.

Johari Carter, 27, from Rochdale, pleaded guilty to theft and dangerous driving at York Crown Court.

On Wednesday 9 January, Carter entered a jewellers on High Ousegate in York where he posed as a customer interested in purchasing a Rolex watch.

He engaged in conversation with staff before subsequently leaving the shop with three watches worth in the region of £18,000 without paying for them.

Spotted by police

While the investigation was underway, on the morning of Saturday 26 January a North Yorkshire Police PCSO on patrol in York recognised a man who fitted the description of the suspect for the theft offence.

Officers then followed the black Vauxhall Insignia as it accelerated and headed out of the city.

The driver, now known to be Carter, travelled at speed towards the A1, where the car was driven the wrong way down the road three times before colliding with another vehicle head-on.


In court, the judge described it as the worst instance of dangerous driving he had ever seen.

Luckily no serious injuries were reported, and with the aid of a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter and West Yorkshire Police units, Carter was located nearby and arrested.

Jailed for three years

York Crown Court. Photograph: YorkMix
On Friday (29 March), he was jailed for three years and banned from driving for five and a half years.

Detective Sergeant Mark Skelton, from North Yorkshire Police, said:

  • Carter showed no consideration for the lives of other road users on the day he failed to stop for police.

    He was determined to escape from officers but with excellent support from both West Yorkshire Police and NPAS we were able to arrest him and bring him to justice for his offences.