Ipswich charity box thief drove at up to 70mph in Rushmere to evade police

Dangerous driver David Lawrence

Dangerous driver David Lawrence - Credit: Archant

A charity box thief is awaiting his fate after crashing while driving through Rushmere at speeds of up to 70mph during a police pursuit.

David Lawrence, of Spring Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court to a catalogue of offences including dangerous driving.

The offences include attempting to steal a Royal British Legion poppy collection box on November 6, and another charity box from One Stop Shop in Ipswich on January 4.

The 34-year-old also stole a Lucy Air Ambulance collection tin in Ipswich on December 15.

The dangerous driving offence occurred in Rushmere St Andrew on January 5.


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Prosecutor Tess Mann said police had gone to Lawrence’s home at around 8am to arrest him for two thefts. However, they were told he was not there.

The officers were travelling on the A14 towards Martlesham at around 9.45am when they saw Lawrence’s BMW at the junction of Holly Road and Main Road, Rushmere St Andrew.

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They put their blue lights on and the BMW turned into Bent Lane driving off at speed.

The court heard the car was travelling at 60mph on the approach to the junction with Playford Road.

The BMW did not slow down or give way at the markings and was going in excess of 60mph by this time.

One of the tyres was a temporary replacement which is designed to be driven at a maximum speed of 50mph.

Mrs Mann said the BMW went across the junction without consideration for other road users or pedestrians.

Officers lost ground on the BMW as they slowed to 40mph on the wet roads.

Police lost the BMW on a sharp left-hand turn and drove slowly checking the side roads.

Mrs Mann said Lawrence’s car was damaged on a grass verge after colliding with two vehicles when it attempted to pass them at St Andrew’s Church Close.

The driver of a Honda Jazz said they had been overtaken in The Street at 70mph by the BMW before the collision.

The crash occurred shortly afterwards when a woman in a car was waiting at traffic lights by a set of roadworks.

She looked in her rear view mirror to see the BMW travelling at speed and thought it was not going to stop.

Magistrates were told the woman felt a crunch and saw the BMW wedged between her vehicle and a van coming in the other direction.

She then heard the BMW’s wheels spinning and revving of the engine as the driver tried to release his vehicle to get away.

The BMW reversed at speed, before going around the van and getting stuck in the grass verge.

Dino Barricella, representing Lawrence who is a mechanic, said his client panicked.

He added Lawrence’s “demon” was drugs and is now seeking help for his addiction.

Lawrence was released on bail until his sentencing on April 11.

Among the other charges Lawrence admitted were stealing BaByliss hair straighteners valued at £75 from Superdrug in Ipswich on February 4, and a DVD boxset of The Wire priced at £49.99 from HMV in Ipswich on February 23.

He also admitted fraud by selling the dvds to a pawnbroker’s for £10.

Lawrence also stole six computer games worth £300 from Tesco in Felixstowe on December 4.

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