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Chatham's Sam Hardstaff jailed after police car chases

A man who drove at more than double the speed limit during two police chases has been jailed.

Sam Hardstaff failed to stop when requested by officers on both occasions and in one instance tried to escape arrest, despite having punctured tyres.

The 27-year-old, from St Leonards Avenue in Chatham, pleaded guilty to the offences at Maidstone Crown Court.

Sam Hardstaff pleaded guilty to the offences
Sam Hardstaff pleaded guilty to the offences

The trial heard that officers had spotted Hardstaff driving erratically along Hoath Lane in Gillingham on Wednesday, June 5.

Instead of stopping for police, he accelerated and drove on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic.

During the eight-mile pursuit, he reached speeds as high as 70mph in a 30mph zone.

Hardstaff drove through a stinger and punctured his tyres in Lower Warren Road - but continued to try to evade police.

The car ploughed into a field and came to a stop in a hedge.

Hardstaff was found shirtless in the vehicle's back seat before being arrested.

Police stopped the car in a farmer's field in Aylesford in June
Police stopped the car in a farmer's field in Aylesford in June

The court was also told that on Tuesday, April 23, officers followed an Izuzu Trooper from a petrol station in Robin Hood Lane, Chatham, after noticing it was in a poor state.

The driver refused to pull over when asked and accelerated - reaching speeds of 70mph.

The vehicle was also seen travelling the wrong way around a roundabout, before escaping.

Hardstaff was later identified as the driver through CCTV footage.

He was found guilty of dangerous driving, driving without insurance and while disqualified during both incidents.

He was jailed for two years and seven months and disqualified from driving for more than five years.

It's not the first time he's been jailed for driving offences as in August 2017 he was jailed for two years after another police chase.

The car eventually came to halt in a hedge
The car eventually came to halt in a hedge

PC Michael Rake said about the latest offences: "Hardstaff’s willingness to endanger himself and other road users in an attempt to evade police officers shows him to be a considerable threat to public safety.

"The fact he did this on two occasions only aggravates his offending and it is entirely appropriate that he has received a custodial sentence.

"It is purely down to good fortune that no one was injured from these two incidents and the driving ban imposed, in addition to his time in custody, means he will no longer be able to needlessly endanger innocent members of the public."

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