THE man who stole half a pack of cigarettes from Top Gear presenters while they visited Whitby has said he did it to teach the celebrities a lesson.
Joe Chayter (59), of Fishburn in County Durham, said that he “had a rush of blood” and since the incident, his friends have nicknamed him ‘The Cig’.
“I took them just as a practical joke really,” he said.
Mr Chayter was staying at a property on Baxtergate on 24 August, when he decided to go for a stroll.
He said: “It was a nice evening so I was having a walk over the bridge and went to Mr Chips.
“Jeremy Clarkson came in and he was being his old obnoxious self, signing autographs and things, then I saw James May outside in the car with the engine running.”
As Mr Chayter left the chip shop he saw James May jump out of the car and rush inside.
“He left the engine running and I thought ‘I’m going to take this car for a spin just to frighten them,” he explained.
Mr Chayter is a senior technician at a luxury Land Rover and Jaguar dealership and said that when customers leave their cars running at his workplace, the staff often move the vehicle to teach them a lesson about how quickly a theft can occur.
“I was sat in the car only a couple of seconds,” he said. “I saw the Marlboros on the dash board and thought I would nick them instead.”
Mr Chayter left the scene, and when the Top Gear presenters returned to their vehicle, they realised the Marlboros had disappeared, with Jeremy Clarkson Tweeting: “WE HAVE BEEN ROBBED” and then “Policemen of Whitby. Someone broke into our car and stole our cigarettes. Clue: they’re the only people in town smoking Marlboros.”
To make up for his practical joke, Mr Chayter returned the half-pack of cigarettes to the Top Gear offices, along with a Jaguar magazine he purchased from a charity shop for 20p and a postcard that says “Which donkey left the keys in the car?”
“If I have to give myself up I will,” he said. “It was a practical joke, it wasn’t thieving.
Mr Chayter added that after telling his two daughters about his rebellious actions, they now believe he’s having a mid-life crisis.