A COVENTRY man found behind the wheel of a stolen car has been branded ‘utterly shameless and feckless’ by a judge and jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Raymond Ryan was arrested following a high-speed chase after being spotted behind the wheel of the stolen £24,000 Audi A3 Sport.
The 30-year-old of Harnall Lane West, Coventry, was jailed for a total of two-and-a-half years and disqualified for four years after pleading guilty to handling the stolen car, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
In September last year James Hughes had driven to Coventry to visit friends and relatives, leaving his car at Corley Services on the M6 before heading to the Forrester’s pub in Hillfields.
While inside he was struck over the head with a bottle.
When Mr Hughes came round he found his wallet, car keys and phone had been taken.
He called the police and returned to the Corley Services to find his car safe and sound.
But on returning to the services at 9.15pm that evening, after returning to London to collect the spare key, his car had been stolen.
Just over an hour later, the Audi A3 Sport was picked up by an ANPR camera heading away from Coventry along the A45, so Pc Mark Bull followed it and pulled alongside it.
Prosecutor Kevin Saunders said: “The defendant, who had a passenger, seemed surprised when he saw the police car, and a pursuit took place as Bull followed the Audi with his blue lights and sirens on.”
Leaving the A45 at Sheldon, Mr Saunders added it was purely by luck Ryan didn’t cause a crash when he went through red lights at Warwick Road in Solihull.
A police helicopter spotted him driving down the wrong side of the road on St Bernards Road – forcing another vehicle to brake to avoid a collision.
After continuing into Prospect Lane, Ryan turned into a cul-de-sac where he made off on foot, but was arrested in the porch of a house after he had jumped over a fence.
When he was interviewed, Ryan said he had been given the key to the Audi by another person for whom he was taking it to Birmingham.
Mr Saunders pointed out that Ryan had 37 convictions for 122 offences, including two previous for aggravated vehicle taking and two for dangerous driving, as well as a number for driving while disqualified.
William Douglas-Jones, defending, said: “There is a pre-sentence report, but ultimately the recommendation is for custody.
“He accepts his behaviour was foolish and wrong. He recognises his driving placed others in danger.
“All I can say is there was no collision and no injury.
“He has shown remorse, and in his interview he apologises.”
Ryan was given consecutive sentences of 14 months for dangerous driving, 12 months for handling and four months for driving while disqualified.
Judge Philip Gregory told him: “You are a prolific offender, particularly involved in offences of taking vehicles and driving them and having accidents in them.
“This was a high-powered car which had been stolen less than 24 hours before this offence, and you were taking it to Birmingham to be sold, and no doubt you would have received your share of the proceeds – and no doubt spent it on drugs.
“It has been suggested you are ashamed of committing these offences. I don’t believe that for a moment.
“You are an utterly shameless and feckless young man.”