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Callum Wiltshire avoids prison after dangerous driving in Land Rover stolen from Artillery Gardens, Canterbury

By Anna MacSwan

A young carpenter has described the hair-raising moment he launched himself onto a car and clung on in a daring bid to stop a thief from driving it away.

Diggory Rush sprang into action after spotting the Land Rover being snatched.

The 23-year-old held onto the roof rack in an attempt to halt the theft, and was thrown into the road twice during the ordeal.

Police recovering the stolen Land Rover
Police recovering the stolen Land Rover

Now, banned driver Callum Wiltshire, previously of Woodrow Chase, Herne Bay, has been sentenced for a string of offences.

Wiltshire – who claimed he ordered someone else to carry out the theft – took the vehicle to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford where doctors were caring for his newborn child.

Mr Rush had been helping his mother’s boyfriend, Mick Etherton, with DIY outside the house in Artillery Gardens in Canterbury when he heard the Discovery’s engine start last June.

Knowing the vehicle was Mr Etherton’s pride and joy, he sprinted over and saw a figure in a hoodie driving away in reverse.

He then launched himself onto the passenger side of the car but found the doors were locked and was forced to let go.

Officers investigating during the aftermath of the theft
Officers investigating during the aftermath of the theft

The King’s School employee was flung off again when he then attempted to jump onto the vehicle’s back side.

He had to dive out of the way as the car drove towards him after stalling while reversing down a one-way street.

“There was no stopping him. I had a two-and-a-half ton car coming towards me,” Mr Rush, of St Stephen’s Road, said.

He miraculously escaped with just a few bruises, but said the incident left him "mentally quite shaken up".

“At no point did he seem in control in any way, of the vehicle. It could have been a very serious accident,” he continued.

Diggory Rush
Diggory Rush

Wiltshire was arrested on August 2 after police saw the vehicle in Military Road.

Canterbury Crown Court heard the Discovery was carrying stolen plates and Wiltshire injured police officer Spencer Bennett as he tried to escape.

When the officer tried to turn off his engine, Wiltshire ignored him and drove on until his eventual arrest in Sturry Road.

The 21-year-old managed to avoid going straight to prison despite admitting driving dangerously, driving while disqualified , assaulting PC Bennett, theft of a number plates and identification tags.

Judge Rupert Lowe suspended a 60 week jail sentence for 18 months after taking pity on Wiltshire because he was caring for a baby.

He also imposed a six-month driving ban.

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