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Sittingbourne teenager given 'one last chance' after fleeing from police in van through orchard and playing field

Bill Adams, who had only a provisional licence, evaded two police cars that were being assisted by a helicopter, for 45 minutes before being halted by a stinger device.

When three tyres were punctured the 18-year-old unemployed labourer from Sittingbourne and four passengers in the Ford Transit made off.

The court heard the van sped off along Tonge Road, mounted a pavement and drove into an orchard.

The court heard the van sped off along Tonge Road, mounted a pavement and drove into an orchard.

A judge admitted he was faced with a dilemma as to what to do with a youth who had not been in trouble before but was guilty of “an extraordinary piece of conduct”.

“This is a custodial sentence,” said Judge Julian Smith.

“He has driven with some desperation. The question is do I lock up an 18-year-old and give him a lesson and punishment that must follow?”

The judge decided that “exceptionally and with some reluctance”, he could give him one last chance.

On Monday, Adams, of Elm Grove, Sittingbourne, was sentenced to 10 months youth custody suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to complete 220 hours’ unpaid work and stay indoors between 8pm and 7am under a four-month tagged curfew.

He was banned from driving for two years and will have to take an extended test before he can drive.

Adams admitted dangerous driving and driving without a licence and insurance.

“I am giving you this chance,” the judge told him. “If you breach this and fail to live up to this stringent order, you will go to prison.”

“I am giving you this chance. If you breach this and fail to live up to this stringent order, you will go to prison,” - Judge Julian Smith

Maidstone Crown Court was told that police saw the van near Sittingbourne High Street just after midnight on July 11 this year.

The van sped off along Tonge Road, mounted a pavement and drove into an orchard.

Prosecutor Mark Davies said Adams narrowly avoided cyclists on a track. He managed to avoid a stinger by swerving around Tunstall primary school.

He drove through a no-entry the wrong way and then along Connaught Road and across a roundabout the wrong way. He then headed across a playing field.

A stinger was eventually successful. The van continued for a short distance and damaged two parked cars. He jumped out but was arrested soon afterwards.

Judge Smith told the teenager: “I am reluctant to assume at the age of 18 this dreadful piece of behaviour is as a result of out-and-out badness. If it is, it will demonstrated in the next 18 months.”

He added: “Don’t blow this. You are not likely to get a chance like this again.”

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