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Dangerous driver jailed after Chatham pursuit

Dangerous driver jailed after Chatham pursuit
A driver who drove at 70mph through a 30mph zone in Gillingham has been jailed for two years seven months.
Sam Hardstaff failed to stop when requested by Kent Police officers on two occasions and in one instance continued to drive even though his tyres had been punctured with a stinger.
The 27-year-old, of St Leonards Avenue, Chatham, was arrested when his car stopped in a hedgerow and he was found sitting in the back seat.
He pleaded guilty to the offences and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday 5 July 2019.

Increased speed

The court heard that on Wednesday 5 June 2019 officers indicated for Hardstaff to stop after he was seen driving erratically along Hoath Lane, Gillingham.
Instead of stopping the Vauxhall Corsa he was driving, he increased his speed and drove on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic. During the pursuit he reached speeds of 70mph in a 30mph zone.
Officers deployed a stinger on Lower Warren Road which punctured his tyres however Hardstaff continued to drive with deflating tyres. The vehicle went off the road into a field, before colliding with a grass verge and coming to a stop in a hedgerow.
Hardstaff was found in the back seat of the vehicle having removed his top and was arrested.

CCTV evidence

The court also heard that on Tuesday 23 April 2019 Kent Police officers noticed an Isuzu Trooper in poor state of repair at a petrol station in Robin Hood Lane, Chatham and followed the vehicle.
The driver refused to pull over when requested and instead increased his speed. The vehicle travelled at speeds of 70mph, went the wrong way around a roundabout and then officers lost sight of it. Hardstaff was later identified as the driver of the vehicle through CCTV footage at a petrol station.
For both incidents Hardstaff was found guilty of dangerous driving, driving without insurance and whilst disqualified.
In addition to the sentence he was disqualified from driving for five years and two months and will be required to take an extended re-test should he want to regain his licence.

Considerable threat

PC Michael Rake from North Kent CID said: ‘Hardstaff’s willingness to endanger himself and other road users in an attempt to evade police officers shows him to be a considerable threat to public safety.
‘The fact he did this on two occasions only aggravates his offending and it is entirely appropriate that he has received a custodial sentence.
‘It is purely down to good fortune that no one was injured from these two incidents and the driving ban imposed, in addition to his time in custody, means he will no longer be able to needlessly endanger innocent members of the public.’

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