A disqualified driver from Crawley who led police on a pursuit through Brighton before crashing his car, has been jailed.
At around 1.45pm on Friday 29 June, officers became aware of a vehicle of interest nearby Preston Drove – the Mercedes G-Class had been involved in an incident a few days earlier, where it failed to stop for police in Crawley.
The vehicle was pursued and it made several turnings in the area in an attempt to evade police. Police say it then accelerated on Harrington Road, across the double junction with Surrenden Way, at approximately 60mph – three times the speed limit of 20mph.
The video shows the vehicle continuing onto Bates Road where it clipped a parked Ford Connect van, causing considerable damage, and due to concerns for the safety of the public in an urban area at a busy time of day, the pursuit was aborted.
However the Mercedes crashed into another parked vehicle in nearby Gordon Road a short time later and two men decamped. They were quickly detained and arrested by officers.
The driver was identified as 27-year-old Vikesh Patel, a mechanic, of Town Mead in West Green, Crawley.
Patel was charged with dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a specimen of breath when suspected of having driven a vehicle, possession of cannabis and driving with no insurance.
He pleaded guilty to all offences at Lewes Crown Court on 27 July, and was disqualified from driving for 43 months and jailed for a total of 15 months, broken down as follows:
- Dangerous driving: nine months consecutive;
- Driving while disqualified: three months consecutive;
- Failing to provide a specimen of breath when suspected of having driven a vehicle: three months consecutive;
- Possession of cannabis: seven days concurrent;
- Driving with no insurance: seven days concurrent.
His passenger, Karim Bahaji, 26, unemployed, of Partridge Lane, Rusper, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 13 August and was fined £50, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Inspector Chris Smith, of the Arundel Roads Policing Unit, said:
“Having failed to stop for police in Crawley a few days earlier, a marker was placed on the vehicle Patel was driving and it was only a matter of time before we caught up with him again.
“However, his capture was no easy task – it required the expertise of response and roads policing officers working together to ensure a criminal was caught without compromising the safety of the general public.
“Patel showed a blatant disregard for the law and for the safety of others through his dangerous driving, and it’s extremely fortunate he didn’t injure himself or anyone else that day.”
Patel’s conviction is an example of how we use modern technology to detect and deny criminals the use of our roads.
Modernising our service to ensure officers and staff have the right skills and tools to respond to complex policing challenges is being made possible through the recent council tax increase.
To report a motorist for dangerous or antisocial driving, visit the Operation Crackdown website.
Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Langley Green man sent to prison after more than £13k drugs found in his home
A Crawley man found with nearly £13,500 worth of drugs in his home has been given a prison sentence.
Police conducted a warrant at the address of Matthew Stevens in Dobson Road, Crawley, after reports from members of the public regarding suspicious behaviour in the area was reported.
During the search on 15 July 2016, officers found a quantity of cocaine, spice and drug paraphernalia. Stevens, 44, was then arrested.
He was released under investigation and the Crawley Investigation team began a long and complex analysis of items seized from the address.
Stevens was charged in May 2017 and pleaded not guilty to possession with intent to supply class A (cocaine), possession of a class B and possession with intent to supply a psychoactive substance (spice).
He stood trial at Hove Crown Court and on Friday 2 November Stevens was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to a total of four years.
Detective Constable Mark Buckley said:
“Sussex Police work tirelessly to stop the supply of illegal drugs within our community.
“The presiding Judge recognised the severity of Stevens’ actions and imposed a sentence representing that.
“We are conscientiously robustly tackling drug issues in Crawley and urge anyone who notices any suspicious behaviour to report it to us without delay.
“Let’s work together to make Crawley a safe place. No one knows their neighbourhoods better than residents themselves, so please get in touch if something seems out of place.”