The following news item has been posted on the Kent Police website on 10th February 2018. The car that was stolen was parked opposite the Sugar Loaves Public House.
A car thief has been jailed after he stole a vehicle in Hollingbourne and then drove it dangerously while failing to stop for police officers on the M20.
At around 1.11pm on Monday 18 December 2017, Michael Ward was in Eyhorne Street when he took the opportunity to steal a Ford Mondeo which was parked with the keys in the ignition while its owner was distracted, unloading shopping.
He drove to a petrol station on Ashford Road, Maidstone where he attempted to pay for £20 of fuel with a bank card that was declined. Advising the cashier he would get another card from the vehicle, he drove away without paying.
Officers spotted the Mondeo on the London-bound carriageway of M20 and, using blue lights and sirens, required the driver to stop. Ward refused to pull over and moved to the hard-shoulder travelling at speeds of around 80mph.
The vehicle left the motorway at junction 4 travelling towards Kingshill and then turned against the flow of traffic at a roundabout. At this point, there was a collision between the police car and the Mondeo as the officers attempted to stop the vehicle to protect other road users.
The Mondeo turned back towards the M20 leaving the police patrol unable to continue. A member of the public stopped and gave one of the officers a lift to the motorway where the officer saw the Mondeo stationary at the bottom of the slip road and Ward walking towards him.
He was seen to drop keys and a satellite navigation device from the Mondeo on the ground and the officer arrested him on suspicion of theft and failing to stop after a collision.
He was subsequently charged with a number of offences.
35-year-old Ward of Templar Drive, Thamesmead pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, taking a car without consent, disqualified driving and making off without payment.
He was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday 7 February 2018 to a total 14 months in prison
PC William Purse said;
‘Ward is an opportunist criminal who did not hesitate to steal the vehicle and then risk the safety of other road users by driving in a dangerous and highly irresponsible manner.
‘I would like to commend the member of the public who assisted and also the lorry driver who stopped to help while I detained Ward at the roadside.
‘My colleague who remained with the damaged police car was also grateful for those who stopped and enquired into his welfare.’