A banned driver who went for a spin in his friend’s flash car was caught because of his distinctive red curly hair.
Joshua Lee Smith (22) had been at the wheel of a “fancy” white Audi Q7, when armed police recognised him instantly by the locks flowing from underneath his hat.
Smith was the subject of a five year motoring ban, imposed last June, and was on post -sentence supervision after leaving jail, when he took the vehicle out around Burnley. He eventually leapt from the car and over a fence and ran off after a short police chase. Smith claimed it wasn’t him when he was later arrested.
The defendant has a record for disqualified driving and has served time for it. The incident, on January 25th, was caught on a police dashboard camera.
Smith, of Briercliffe Road, Burnley, admitted driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop for a constable and having no insurance, on Harold Street, Burnley. He had denied the allegations, but had owned up on the day of trial. Smith was given a 12 week curfew, between 8pm and 6am, seven days a week and was banned for five years. The defendant must pay a £60 victim surcharge.
Bench chairman Paul Roberts told the hearing although Smith had similar previous convictions, they had heard a good report on his progress, from the probation service.
Prosecutor John Beggs told the court that at about 10-15pm, a police officer with the Armed Response Unit, who knew the defendant well from previous dealings, was with a colleague in a BMW four wheeled drive vehicle on Cog Lane. The large white Audi emerged from a junction and then began to reverse when the driver spotted the BMW.
The prosecutor said: “The officer gets a good look at the driver. He gets a good look in the vehicle. He sees the person who is sitting there. He sees the hat and the curly red hair coming out from underneath it and he knows this is the defendant.”
Mr Beggs said the officer had “clocked” the defendant and Smith also spotted him. The defendant went off “at some little speed” and the police then went into an estate and were going at over 50mph to catch him up. A passer-by pointed out to the officers where the Q7 had gone and they found the Audi parked up. Smith had got out and jumped over a fence.
Mark Williams (defending) said the Audi was owned legitimately by the defendant’s friend. He continued: “It was a nice car and his friend let him have a go and he was tempted, given the nature of the car.”
He added: “He made a huge error. He apologises. He is trying to turn his life around.”