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'Idiotic' driver who sparked high-speed Bexley police chase is jailed
AN “IDIOTIC” father-of-five from Northfleet who led a high-speed police chase through Bexley has been jailed for 13 months.
Barry Banfield, of Beresford Road, was spotted stealing a van in Abbey Wood by an eagle-eyed resident who dialled 999 shortly after 10pm on August 13.
The 39-year-old failed to stop for police while turning the white Ford Transit van into Dhalia Road from Bracondale Road and sped off towards Bexleyheath doing twice the speed limit and causing drivers to swerve out of the way.
He sped down Brampton Road and Long Lane, with the Met Police helicopter tracking him overhead, before turning sharply into a dirt track in Vicarage Road in Bexley and abandoning the vehicle.
Officers found him crouched down by a gate and he was arrested.
The welder pleaded guilty at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on August 15 to aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.
On sentencing Banfield to 13 months behind bars yesterday (Oct 10), Judge Christopher Kinch QC told Woolwich Crown Court: “You deliberately took a white van, drilling through the lock and ignition and made off with it.
“And then idiotically when the police see you, you drive off at speed to try to get away with it, doing speeds of between 50 and 60mph in residential streets not very late at night.
“You were swerving around trying to get away from the police, at times on the wrong side of the road, and you were lucky there wasn’t a collision and nobody was hurt.”
Two weeks after the chase, and while on bail, Banfield was caught flouting a driving ban by a police officer who recognised him.
He was given a 116-day sentence on September 2 for driving while disqualified, theft, driving without insurance, and the activation of a suspended sentence for a previous offence of criminal damage.
Mitigating, Dean George said of the police pursuit: “Mr Banfield was particularly frank, it came about by way of panic, stealing the car for financial gain and when the police arrived he panicked which he is particularly regretful for.”
Banfield was banned from driving for 18 months and will have to retake his driving test.
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