Van driver banned after driving through red lights and leading police on a three-mile chase through Ipswich

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

A van driver who jumped three sets of red traffic lights during a three-mile police car chase in the Ipswich area has walked free from court after a judge decided not to lock him up.

Raqiem Venner, who has never had a driving lesson or taken a test, panicked when police officers tried to stop him at 9.30am in London Road, Ipswich and drove off, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He drove through red traffic lights at the junction of London Road and Yarmouth Road and after turning into Hadleigh Road drove a speeds of up to 50mph followed by the police car with its blue lights flashing and siren sounding, said Michael Crimp, prosecuting.

Venner swerved to prevent the police car overtaking him and then went through another red light, causing an oncoming car to brake and swerve to avoid a collision.

He then overtook a queue of traffic at another set of red traffic lights before driving the wrong side of a “Keep Left” sign, said Mr Crimp.

Eventually the police car overtook Venner’s a Mercedes van and forced him to stop. He ran off and caused £124 damage to the police car when his vehicle rolled into it because he hadn’t put the handbrake on.

Venner was arrested shortly afterwards.

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The 20-year-old, of Romford, admitted dangerous driving, driving without insurance and without a licence on March 25 and was sentenced to an eight month period of detention, suspended for two years.

He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to attend 60 supervision sessions with the probation service. He was ordered to pay £124 compensation £250 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Gabrielle Heaney, for Venner, said her client hadn’t been drinking and no one had been hurt.

She said Venner had spent periods in custody in the past but had recently been trying to turn his life around.