Alan Naylor thought he had been dreaming after battering a Minster fish and chip shop with a stolen car.
In desperation, the 31-year-old rang the police to claim the wrecked Toyota Hilux had been taken by someone else.
But when officers arrived to quiz him he admitted the dream was a real-life nightmare... and confessed he had taken the 4X4 without permission.
Damage to a Toyota pick-up truck that hit several cars, shops and walls in Minster. Picture: Don Wilks
He told officers: “It was me...I stole it! I woke up and realised it wasn't a dream.”
Now Naylor, of Brockman’s Close, Minster has been jailed for a year after admitting a charge of aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance and not in accordance with his licence.
He was also banned from driving for two years after Judge Adele Williams told him: "Your victims, who were asleep above the shop, were terrified.
"They thought there had been an explosion!"
Prosecutor Donna East told Canterbury Crown Court that the crash caused £18,000 worth of damage to Archie’s Fish and Chip shop in August last year.
But it had also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a nearby building and residents had been evacuated until it was safe to return.
Archies Fish and Chip Shop in High Street, Minster after it was wrecked by the car
Owners Ozkan and Sezan Mustafa were in bed in their flat above the High Street shop when the crash happened.
Mrs Mustafa, 57, said at the time : "My husband and I had gone to bed and were drifting off to sleep when we heard what sounded like an explosion and then as we looked out of the window and saw a lot of smoke downstairs.
"The noise was unbelievable and there was so much rubble and damage, the whole front of the shop will need to be rebuilt.
"I'm still in shock. It hasn't worn off yet - I can't believe what has happened. The front of the shop has been caved in, it's so lucky that no one was in there at the time."
The vehicle smashed into a garden wall in Minster. Picture: Don Wilks
The shop was closed for some time after the accident, causing more financial loss to the couple.
Ms East told how the gold-coloured Toyota had been loaned to Naylor’s partner Rosina Johnson by her boss – but Naylor was not allowed to drive it as he didn’t hold a full driving licence.
“I admit I took the car. You will find my DNA on it. I woke up and realised it wasn’t a dream” Alan Naylor
She said that also damaged in the crash were two vehicles – one belonging to the chip shop owners - after Naylor reversed out of the shop window.
The prosecutor added that the driver escaped after the crash – but police forensic experts recovered Naylor's DNA from the vehicle’s airbag.
“After the incident Naylor contacted police claiming the Toyota had been stolen. But when officers arrived at his home it admitted he had taken the vehicle.”
Naylor, who has a 26-offence long criminal record, told them: “I admit I took the car. You will find my DNA on it. I woke up and realised it wasn’t a dream.”
Simon Taylor, defending, said: “He does have an appalling criminal record and he accepts he will receive a custodial sentence.”
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