High-tech takedown: Police Drone and dog team flush out hiding thief

A thief has been jailed after officers including a drone pilot and dog handler teamed up to find him hiding in a field in Canterbury.

Police on patrol in the Nackington area of the city spotted Joseph Yates, 32, running away from a business property whilst an intruder alarm was sounding in the early hours of Thursday 24 August 2023.

It was later established that entry to a storeroom at the location had been forced but no items had been taken.

Yates ran and hid in a dense field near Langton Lane and could not be found until dog handler PC Lisa Milligan and Police Dog Coty picked up his scent and began to track to his location. They were supported by drone pilot PC Andy Green, who with assistance from PC Richard Gabriel was able to detect Yates’ heat source and guide them to his precise position.

The offender was arrested, searched and found to be in possession of a crowbar and the keys to a car found abandoned nearby. Inside the vehicle was a pair of bolt croppers and other tools, as well as two cannisters of nitrous oxide that were found to have been stolen from a location in Sittingbourne the previous day.

Guilty

Yates pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, handling stolen goods and going equipped for burglary following an investigation by PC Georgia England from the Canterbury Victim Based Crime Team. He was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment when he attended Medway Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 17 January 2024.

Superintendent Elena Hall of Kent Police’s Tactical Operations Command said:

‘When a crime is committed we are able to call upon officers with a wide variety of skills and specialist training who work together to ensure justice is served.‘On this occasion the expertise of drone pilots, a dog handler and officers on patrol helped to ensure a criminal was caught and arrested within 40 minutes of the offence taking place. The strength of the evidence against him was so strong that he had little choice but to plead guilty in court.‘I hope this case sends a strong message to other would-be offenders that with the technology now available to us through the use of drones and other advancements, there really is nowhere you can hide from the law.’