Snatched keys from moving car

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A QUICK-THINKING policeman reached inside a boozer’s moving car and snatched the keys from the ignition to stop him making a getaway.

The officer spotted banned driver Paul Caldwell, who was almost four times the legal limit, steering “erratically” and without a seat belt in Raby Road, Hartlepool, and pulled him over.

The Peugeot 206 car stopped, but as officers started walking towards it, 29-year-old Caldwell tried to reverse away.

He was stopped in his tracks, however, when the officer reached into the moving car and grabbed the keys from the ignition.

The vehicle, which belonged to Caldwell’s girlfriend, was brought to a halt and Caldwell was arrested.

Prosecuting, Lilian Atkinson told justices: “On Saturday, February 25, the defendant was observed driving a motor vehicle erratically in Raby Road, and he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

“Police followed the vehicle and it stopped in Raby Gardens. Upon approaching the vehicle the defendant attempted to reverse away from the officers but was stopped when an officer reached into the vehicle and removed the keys.

“The defendant smelled of intoxicating liquor and he became abusive and made numerous threats to the officers.

“He was arrested and a breath sample showed he had 120 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.” The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Checks also showed the defendant was a disqualified driver and had no insurance.

Caldwell, of Frasier Grove, in the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, admitted drink driving, using a car without insurance and driving while disqualified, all on February 25.

He also admitted flouting a suspended sentence order that he was given by justices on March 24, last year, for offences of drink driving and driving while disqualified.

His solicitor, Neil Taylor, told the court that there was nothing he could really say by way of mitigation for his client.

Chairman of the bench Barbara Sutherland decided to activate the suspended sentence order and jailed Caldwell for 180 days.