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Addict's drunken driving rampage

PUBLISHED: 13:18 03 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

A DRUNKEN Suffolk heroin addict careered through Ipswich in a stolen £30,000 BMW smashing into parked cars and a gas pipe during a police chase. Now Kevin Hardman, of Norwich Road, Ipswich is behind bars and beginning a 27 month prison sentence.

A DRUNKEN Suffolk heroin addict careered through Ipswich in a stolen £30,000 BMW smashing into parked cars and a gas pipe during a police chase.

Today Kevin Hardman, of Norwich Road, Ipswich is behind bars and beginning a 27 month prison sentence.

Judge John Devaux sentenced Kevin Hardman, of Norwich Road, Ipswich, to 27 months in jail for handling stolen goods, 18 months for aggravated vehicle taking and five months for driving whilst disqualified.

All three sentences are to run concurrently.

In addition Hardman, who pleaded guilty to the offences, was given a three month driving ban for the aggravated vehicle taking and fined £500 for no insurance and £750 for drink driving.

Hardman's co-defendant 34-year-old Paul Murphy, of Bishops Hill, Ipswich, who also gave guilty pleas was sentenced to 120 hours community service for being a passenger in the stolen vehicle.

Samantha Leigh, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court the BMW was taken from the driveway of a house in Graham Road, Ipswich during a burglary in February.

Less than 24 hours later police in an unmarked car spotted the BMW in Portman Road.

The stolen car reversed into Princes Street pursued by police and was driven into Commercial Road where it collided with the unmarked car and two unattended cars in a car park.

Police followed the stolen car at speed down Vernon Street and into the Station Street area where the BMW collided with a gas pipe before hitting another car in Philip Road.

The chase continued into Ancaster Road where Hardman crashed the car into a hedge before accelerating off.

Traffic blocks were set up. The pair were eventually arrested and items stolen from the burglary found in the back of the car.

At the time of the incident the man who lives in the house with the damaged gas supply told of his shock.

Ernest Fisk, of Wherstead Road, said: "I was just sitting down and I heard this huge bang. I didn't know what it was. When I went outside I could see the damage but the car had long gone.

"There was quite a smell of gas and everybody was moved away from the scene. I think the gas people were here pretty quickly and the whole incident didn't last too long.

"I think it was a very stupid thing to do and obviously could have been quite dangerous."

The jury at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday heard that a breath test showed 27-year-old Hardman was nearly twice over the legal drink drive limit, with 66 mcg alcohol in 100 ml of breath while trying to escape from police. The legal limit is 35 mcg.

Hugh Vass, mitigating said Hardman, who is trying to beat a heroin addiction, apologised to those suffering as a result of his behaviour.

Murphy's home address was searched and he was found in possession of cannabis worth around £34.

Meanwhile, Murphy, who was said to be extremely frightened during the chase, was ordered to 40 hours community service for the possession of cannabis.

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