Getaway car forces evasive action

PUBLISHED: 16:30 14 January 2016

Archant

A fugitive burglar, who crashed his getaway car during a police chase, has been jailed after he was caught in a field of alpacas.

Christopher Dixon, from Gloucestershire, lost control of the stolen car on a road outside Darts Farm, Clyst St George, and was followed by police through marshland onto the shopping complex’s animal corner.

Exeter Crown Court heard Dixon had stolen the Rover in a burglary in Cheltenham and driven it at full speed down the M5, only stopping to fill up with petrol – leaving the forecourt without paying.

He was spotted by police leaving the motorway at Exeter Services, heading towards Exmouth on the A376. He tried to shake them off by doing a U-turn near the fire service headquarters and doubled back on himself twice during the chase.

Dixon forced one driver to veer off the road to avoid him as he overtook on a stretch of road which reduced from two to one lane. Other motorists took evasive action as he drove down the middle of the highway outside the George and Dragon.

Dixon, 38, of Fairview Road, Cheltenham, admitted burglary, theft, driving while disqualified and dangerous driving. He was jailed for two years and six months and banned from driving for three years by Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

The judge told him: ”When you were followed by the police, you tried to avoid them. You did so at increasing speeds and increasing risk to other road users, a number of whom had to go onto the nearside verge to avoid collisions.

“It was undoubtedly and obviously dangerous driving and you eventually failed to take a corner and hit the kerb and stopped. You ran away across marshland, but were arrested.”

Mr Robert Morgan-Jones, prosecuting, said Dixon broke into a house in Swindon Street, Cheltenham, in the early hours of July 2 as a family with two children slept upstairs.

He stole a purse and the keys to a Rover 25 car and raided the fridge, which he left open. He then tried and failed to use a bank card before driving to Exeter via Weston-super-Mare, where he avoided paying at a filling station.

Police were watching the M5 because Dixon was thought to be heading for Exmouth. He was seen at aound 7.25am and followed onto the A 376. Mr Morgan-Jones said Dixon used a path between the carriageways to turn round to try to avoid police and almost forced another driver off the road.

He eventually headed onto the road to Topsham, where he drove in the middle of the carriageway, forcing other drivers to take evasive action.

Dixon lost control on the bend after Darts Farm and fled on foot over marshland into the animal corner, where police arrested him among a herd of alpacas, which were kept as an attraction for young visitors.

Miss Ros Collins, defending, said Dixon’s life had been blighted by drugs since he was abused while in care as a teenager and he had spent half his adult life in jail.

She said he was a victim of a ‘revolving door’ syndrome and would continue to offend until he received help to overcome his anger problems and addictions.


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