Offender used police car for getaway

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A "prolific offender" who was stopped by a police officer, made his getaway in a patrol car, a court heard today.

Robert David Norris left the constable embarrassed after he locked him out of his Volvo and drove off with the blue lights still flashing.

The 28-year-old from Neath Road, Plasmarl, Swansea, pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent during a hearing at Cardiff magistrates' court today.

Norris also admitted stealing the officer's satellite navigation system so he could find his way to the nearest train station after abandoning the patrol car.

He was subsequently sentenced to a total of 84 days in prison.

Paul Hewitt, prosecuting, said Norris was driving along the A470 Manor Way in Cardiff at around 2.30am on November 22 when he was stopped by PC Liam Buttle of South Wales Police who was concerned at the speed at which he was driving his Vauxhall Corsa.

Mr Hewitt said once Norris was put into the back of the patrol car for questioning, he activated the central locking, leaving PC Buttle unable to get back in.

"He then climbed into the front of the car and drove off with the police lights still flashing," said Mr Hewitt.

PC Buttle obtained Norris's details from a passenger in his Corsa.

The court heard the police car was recovered a short distance away soon after it was taken but when PC Buttle checked it over, he noticed the satellite navigation system he bought for it was missing.

Norris, who the prosecutor said had a "substantial record going back ten years," was not apprehended until Saturday at a house in Swansea.

Mr Hewitt said in police interview, Norris told officers "sorry about the 'sat-nav' but I had to find my way back to the train station."

Giles Hayes, defending, said the incident was an "impulsive action."

"Mr Norris ended up in Cardiff with a friend," said Mr Hayes. "They got lost and the officer felt he was travelling too fast.

"Mr Norris panicked and got into the car and drove away. The vehicle was only driven a short distance and it was secured and left there by Mr Norris.

"There was no damage to the car at all. The only reason why Mr Norris took the sat nav was because he was in an area of Cardiff he didn't know and had to find his way to the train station."

Mr Hayes added: "Despite the fact that he is a prolific offender in the past, the most recent conviction for dishonesty was for interfering with a vehicle in September of last year."

The court heard Norris would lose his employment if he was to be sent to prison.

The magistrates' chairwoman, Wendy Ashton, told Norris he was going to be locked up because of his extensive criminal record, a failure to respond to "non-custodial penalties" in the past and the seriousness of taking a police car.

For taking the vehicle without consent, Norris was sentenced to 84 days custody and for stealing the satellite navigation system, he was given a concurrent 56 day jail term.

He was also disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay compensation of £130 to cover the cost of the satellite navigation system.