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Joyrider Ciaran King admits dangerous driving

By Paul Hooper

A teenage joyrider, who damaged a vehicle during a police chase, has been given the chance to repay his victims - by working on a farm.

The kindly farmers sent an email to the Crown Prosecution Service and made the offer after the 18-year-old was arrested for a series of offences.

Part-time farmer Lyndsey Bennett and friend Diana Smith are neighbours of Ciaran King, from Short Lane, Alkham, who admitted taking the modified off-road Daihatsu FourTrack vehicle.

Officers had to use a baton to restrain Ciaran King after a police chase
Officers had to use a baton to restrain Ciaran King after a police chase

Canterbury Crown Court heard the vehicle, which had been parked in a field in a nearby village, was used each day to transport hay bales for her animals.

But Judge Rupert Lowe was told the vehicle was an insurance write off after King and three pals were spotted joyriding along London Road and Folkestone Road in Dover.

Prosecutor Andrew Forsythe said the vehicle was forced to stop near a bridge but it cost the farmers £600 to buy it back and repair it.

It was then the victims penned the kind offer to prosecutors saying that King could work off that debt on the farm.

Judge Lowe was told that initially the teenager rejected the offer but then asked him: “Surely you prefer a farm to prison?” and King nodded.

He then told King to carry out the work and ordered a report to ensure it was done.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Mr Forsythe had told how in January the vehicle had been parked in a field where Mrs Bennett used the vehicle, which was owned by Mrs Smith.

The following morning she reported it as missing and police ANPR cameras had recorded the vehicle being driven in London Road and Folkestone Road, Dover.

At 11am two police officers spotted the vehicle and gave chase towards Whitfield Hill where King drove on the wrong side of the road around a long bend.

“Oncoming vehicles had to brake heavily to avoid a collision near Waters End as the Daihatsu which was travelling at 50mph.

The prosecutor said after stopping the vehicle, officers had to use a baton as King began struggling violently.

King admitted taking a car without permission, driving dangerously, without a licence or insurance and resisting police officers.

"It's driving like this which kills people, the driver, passengers and innocent people in other vehicles" - Judge Rupert Lowe

He was given a 12 month sentence suspended for 18 months, banned from driving for two years and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to remain at his home from between 9pm and 6am for the next four months.

The judge told King: “If you had had a crash, then the people in your vehicle would have been hurt but you didn’t care about any of that.

“This was a most appalling series of offences. It’s driving like this which kills people, the driver, passengers and innocent people in other vehicles.”

He said: “Mrs Bennett has very kindly offered you to work off the £600.

"She is obviously a very nice woman who has taken pity on you. The very least she deserves from you is an apology.”

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