Sacked Ipswich man crashed works van

Ipswich crown court with road sign

Michael Harrison was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich man who crashed a works van after driving off in it after being sacked for failing a drugs test has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Sentencing 36-year-old Michael Harrison, Recorder Jeremy Benson told him he had come “very close” to going straight to prison.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that after testing positive for cocaine at the premises of Telec Networks in Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, Harrison was told he was being dismissed and he was no longer allowed to drive his works van.

Harrison said he had a hospital appointment and needed to use the van and despite being offered a lift to  hospital he announced: “I’m taking it,” said Nicola May, prosecuting.

He had then got into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and drove towards the exit.

While the HR manager was calling the police she heard a loud screeching noise and a bang and discovered that the van Harrison was driving had collided with a pick-up vehicle causing a total of £18,000 damage to both vehicles.

Harrison had driven off without stopping and the van was later found abandoned.

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Harrison, of Queens Way, Ipswich, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, common assault, racially aggravated threatening behaviour and assaulting three police officers.

Harrison was given a 58 week prison sentence suspended for two years and banned from driving for 12 months.

He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and given a 35 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Harrison was also ordered to pay £1,250 compensation and £3,000 prosecution costs.

Miss May said police had been called to an address in Ipswich after residents saw Harrison punch his former partner in the face after she tried to stop him driving after he’d been drinking.

When officers arrived, Harrison had tried to get away, but when that was unsuccessful, he had become violent and punched a woman police officer in the face and then put his hands round the throat of another female officer leaving her struggling for breath.

Harrison was put in a police van and had been racially abusive to a police officer and threatened to cut him up.

Steven Dyble for Harrison said his client had spent a month in custody and 400 days on a tagged curfew which was the equivalent of a 14 month prison sentence.

He said since the offences Harrison had set up a successful landscaping company which employed three people who would lose their jobs if he was sent to prison.

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