CRAZED gunman Raoul Moat started his shooting spree on Tyneside in a van stolen from Hartlepool Borough Council, it has been revealed.
Moat hit the headlines last summer when he shot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, at her home in Birtley, near Gateshead, and murdered her new boyfriend Christopher Brown.
Moat then shot and blinded PC David Rathband after spotting the officer’s patrol car parked in a lay-by on the A69 on the outskirts of Newcastle.
The former doorman then went on the run, hiding in Rothbury, Northumberland, for a week before turning his gun on himself after finally being snared by police marksmen.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, it emerged that the van used by Moat and his accomplices in the build-up to the shooting of his former girlfriend had earlier been stolen from Hartlepool Borough Council.
The man who disposed of the van, 30-year-old Scott Raisbeck from Grebe Close in Blyth, Northumberland, admitted hiding evidence, including a Ford Transit and keys which had been used by the gunman and his accomplice Karl Ness during the first shooting.
Raisbeck pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by removing the van from a location where it had been parked after the shootings, disposing of the keys and hiding a “number of items” which could have been used as evidence against Moat and Ness.
Raisbeck also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods in relation to the van.
Ness, 26, was jailed for life in March with a minimum of 40 years after being found guilty of being one of Moat’s henchmen.
Raisbeck was yesterday he will be jailed for his actions.
Mr Justice Coulson granted him bail while a pre-sentence report is prepared by the probation service and said the case would be back in court in June.
The judge warned Raisbeck: “I will be assisted by the preparation of a pre-sentence report and therefore that is what I’m going to order but it is important you understand that the pre-sentence report is likely to be of assistance to me in helping me decide how long a prison sentence I should impose on you.
“I hope you understand I will impose a prison sentence upon you for this offence.”
A spokesman for Hartlepool Council said: “We are not aware that any council vehicle was used in this crime and are unable to carry out a thorough check until we have some specific details of the vehicle.”