Danger driver led police on chase through Hartlepool despite having three punctured tyres

Bowlt continued to flee despite having three of the tyres on the car he was driving punctured by a police Stinger device.
Bowlt continued to flee despite having three of the tyres on the car he was driving punctured by a police Stinger device.

A driver of a stolen car being chased by police refused to stop despite getting three punctures.

Christopher Bowlt came close to losing control of the VW Polo after running over a Stinger tyre-puncturing device.

He was eventually stopped by being boxed in by several police cars, Teesside Crown Court heard.

"The owner of the Polo parked it outside her house in Sea View Terrace in Hartlepool," said Paul Newcombe, prosecuting.

"She happened to look out of her window in the early hours to see her car was no longer there.

"She concluded the keys had been taken from her handbag."

Bowlt was seen in the car at about 9am the next morning, the court heard.

"He drove it into a Morrison's petrol station," said Mr Newcombe.

"He bought £20 of fuel, attempting to pay for it with a housemate's debit card.

"About an hour later a mobile police patrol spotted the car being driven in Hartlepool. A pursuit ensued, during which the police deployed a Stinger device.

"The car was driven at speeds in excess of the speed limit through the centre of Hartlepool, mounting the pavement outside the war memorial.

"The car was eventually brought to halt by being boxed in by police cars. Three of its tyres were punctured, and there was damage to the bodywork.

"Bowlt fled on foot, but was arrested a short time later.

"At the police station he was found to be carrying a small wrap of heroin.

"He made no comment to all questions put to him."

Bowlt, 35, of Borrowdale Street, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, possession of a class A drug, fraud, driving without a licence, and driving without insurance, all on January 8.

Paul Cleasby, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Bowlt took no part in the burglary to get the keys.

"He does have a criminal record, including motoring offences, but this is his first offence of dangerous driving.

"No injuries were caused due to the manner of his driving, but he accepts there was damage to property.

"It is disappointing to see him back in custody, but the pattern is likely to repeat itself until he tackles his addiction."

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced Bowlt to 12 months in prison, and disqualified him from driving for two years and six months.

"You don't answer for the burglary, but you drove the car for some distance," the judge told Bowlt.

"You carried on driving even after the Stinger device had been deployed.

"Driving in the way you did causes a big risk to pedestrians and other road users.

"There is no reason, when you've been released, why you should not pay compensation to the owner of the car who lost her insurance excess."

Bowlt was ordered to pay £200 compensation at £5 a week, starting from his projected release date in September.

He must take an extended driving test if he wants to drive after the ban expires.