Thermal footage shows burglars caught hiding up a tree after police chase

·2 min read

Thermal imaging footage shows the moment police caught three burglars after two were found hiding in a tree and the third was detained by a police dog after a high-speed chase.

Abraham Fox, 28, Ross Sutcliffe, 29, and William Lowther, 48, had burgled three farms in Plompton, near Harrogate, by snapping the locks to outbuildings to steal tools.

The trio caught the attention of police after they saw them in a stolen Toyota Hilux in the early hours of 15 January.

After failing to stop for officers, they sped off in the vehicle before abandoning it on the roadside.

Ross Sutcliffe, 29, Abraham Fox, 28, and William Lowther, 48, were found hiding in a tree and the third was detained by a police dog. (North Yorkshire Police)
Ross Sutcliffe, 29, Abraham Fox, 28, and William Lowther, 48, were found hiding in a tree and the third was detained by a police dog. (North Yorkshire Police)

The trio fled on foot before being spotted by a National Police Air Service (NPAS) craft’s on-board thermal imaging cameras, and being hunted down by around 20 officers on the ground including the force’s dogs section.

Footage released by North Yorkshire Police and NPAS shows the moment Lowther is caught just four miles from the burglaries by a police dog team hiding under a barrier.

All three were arrested and appeared before the courts where they each pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary.

On Friday, Fox and Sutcliffe of Stirling Crescent, Bradford, were each sentenced to two years and eight months in jail and Lowther of Copgrove Road, Bradford, was sentenced to two years and four months.

Police investigator Pam Luettke of North Yorkshire Police’s Investigation Hub said: “These criminals thought that by fleeing they’d be able to get away with their crimes but they were no match for our officers that morning, not least our police dogs and police helicopter who quickly hunted them out and the investigation team who pulled the case together to put them before the courts.

Fox and Sutcliffe were seen on National Police Air Service (NPAS) cameras hiding up a tree's branches after discarding their shoes, followed closely by police officers. (North Yorkshire Police)
Fox and Sutcliffe were seen on National Police Air Service (NPAS) cameras hiding up a tree's branches after discarding their shoes, followed closely by police officers. (North Yorkshire Police)

“These were organised attacks on hardworking people and whilst they admitting their guilt, the gang displayed no sense of shame for what they did and remained unapologetic throughout for the distress they caused.

“It is very satisfying to know that justice has been served for the victims and that Lowther, Fox and Sutcliffe are now behind bars.”

National Police Air Service assistant operations director Ian Vause said: “Using the on-board camera, the helicopter crew located all three suspects, two of which had run across a field and climbed a tree to try and avoid being detained.

“Crew monitored all of the suspects to ensure they didn’t escape and guided officers on the ground to them so they could arrest them.

“It was an excellent result which demonstrated policing at its very best – three arrested and suspected stolen property recovered.”