Youth admits car theft

AN Ipswich youth who repeatedly stole cars continued to offend after being released from jail where he served time for committing identical crimes.Lee Nichols sped through Ipswich streets in the dead of night with no regard for other motorists and ended a police chase by smashing into patrol cars, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

AN Ipswich youth who repeatedly stole cars continued to offend after being released from jail where he served time for committing identical crimes.

Lee Nichols sped through Ipswich streets in the dead of night with no regard for other motorists and ended a police chase by smashing into patrol cars, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Recorder James Wood QC said to the 18-year-old of Drake Avenue: "This is repeated and endless vehicle taking on a daily basis since your release from a young offenders institute."

The court heard that Nichols was imprisoned for the first time in November last year for four months for stealing cars and driving while disqualified.

He was released in January, but pleaded guilty to stealing another car on April 30 and asked for 14 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Mr Wood said: "This was, in reality, a campaign of vehicle taking from the residents of Ipswich."

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He said Nichols had an "appalling record for taking cars".

The court heard that Nichols had eight previous convictions for stealing cars or items from cars.

Kate Stephenson, prosecuting, said Nichols had been drinking on April 30 when he stole a Nissan car at 1.38am and drove off along Britannia Road.

She said two police cars with sirens and flashing lights pursued Nichols along Foxhall Road, Grove Lane and Woodbridge Road, but the youngster refused to stop and careered along at up to 50 mph in the 20 and 30mph zones.

Miss Stephenson said Nichols also drove through a red traffic light, but came to a halt when faced with an oncoming car in Rushmere Road near Barclays Bank.

She said: "He reversed at some speed straight into the police car behind him, and because he was pursued by two cars he pushed the first into the second causing £3,159.52 of damage to the police vehicles."

Miss Stephenson added that a roadside breath test proved positive, but Nichols refused to provide a specimen at the police station.

He admitted drink driving but was not charged with the offence or for failing to provide a specimen. However, the charge of vehicle taking did become aggravated by the consumption of alcohol.

Nichols pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop and having no insurance.

The court heard that he could have been jailed for a maximum of two years.

Martyn Levett, mitigating, said his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and should be given credit for that.

Mr Woods sent Nichols to a young offenders institute for a total of 18 months, disqualified him form driving for three years and endorsed his licence.

Nichols was told he would have to pass a driving test before driving legally.

No order was made for compensation or towards court costs.

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