Driver who stole taxi from Gatwick Airport before high-speed police chase disqualified

A man who stole a taxi from Gatwick Airport before leading police on a high-speed pursuit has been disqualified from driving.

Mohammed Ahmed, 24, stole the car from outside the South Terminal in September 2022 before reaching speeds of more than 130mph along the M25 and M40.

Ahmed also drove into cordoned off areas with roadworks in order to evade officers.

Despite police using a tyre deflation device, he continued to drive away at high speed eventually losing a tyre along the motorway.

Ahmed was tracked by the National Police Air Service helicopter who informed Thames Valley Police and Warwickshire Police.

He eventually drove into a cul-de-sac in Walsall and was arrested.

Ahmed stole the taxi when the owner had gone inside the terminal momentarily to collect a fare, and had left keys in the ignition. Credit: Sussex Police

Following an investigation by Gatwick CID, Ahmed was charged with aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving.

Ahmed, unemployed of Heather Avenue, Walsall, appeared before Lewes Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, August 4.

He was disqualified from driving for 18 months, and was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work as part of a 14-month suspended prison sentence.

The court ordered him to complete 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) sessions and pay £841.53 in compensation to the taxi driver.

He must also pay £425 court costs and a victim surcharge of £187.

Ahmed drove dangerously, swerving in the road as he drove onto the M25. Credit: Sussex Police

The court was told that a taxi driver had declined to take Ahmed, with footage showing him then approach the driver’s side of another unattended parked taxi.

The owner had gone inside momentarily to collect a fare, and had left keys in the ignition.

Ahmed took the vehicle, and later attended the victim’s address to discard identification documents before driving off at speed.

Officers from Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit were alerted to the vehicle on the M23 and attempted to safely stop Ahmed.

But he drove dangerously, swerving in the road as he drove onto the M25.

The NPAS helicopter tracked the vehicle from the M25 to the M40, then the M42 and M6.

Ahmed reached the A34 and was still driving at speeds of 70mph in a 30mph zone, going the wrong way around roundabouts, through red lights, and on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic.

Speaking after the case Detective Inspector Darren Lillywhite said: "Ahmed had been refused a fare when he decided to take the taxi outside the South Terminal.

"His driving was so reckless that police were not able to continue pursuing him because of the risk it posed to other road users and officers.

"Our colleagues from NPAS tracked him, and fortunately our colleagues from Warwickshire Police RPU were able to catch him and make the arrest.

"Ahmed is very lucky not to have caused serious harm to either himself, our officers, or other road users. His driving was appalling."