A DRINK driver hurled himself in to a flower bed in an attempt to escape police.
Craig Theasby was followed by police in the Vauxhall Zafira he had taken from a friend’s house and then stopped in the car park at the Museum of Hartlepool, off Marina Way.
The 30-year-old then jumped out of the vehicle and ran down Maritime Avenue, towards the old Custom House, where he threw himself in to a flower-bed, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court was told.
The police officer who was giving chase saw where the fleeing offender had jumped and he was caught and arrested.
Prosecuting, Lynne Dalton said: “The owner of the car had gone to Liverpool for the weekend, leaving her partner staying at the house. He went out drinking and met some friends including this defendant who he invited back to the house.
“In the early hours of the morning he went to bed intoxicated and when he got up the following morning the vehicle itself was missing.”
Mrs Dalton said that at 3.35am, a police officer was at the Raby Road and Middleton Road traffic lights when he saw the Zafira go through the signals when it should not have.
The officer followed Theasby along Middleton Road and into Marina Way where he “accelerated harshly”.
“The officer activated his blue lights and followed it onto Maritime Avenue where the defendant stopped at the Museum of Hartlepool car park,” she added.
“Theasby got out of the vehicle and ran to the front door of the old Customs House and threw himself in to a flower bed where he was detained.
“It was quite clear to the officers that he was intoxicated.”
Tests showed he had 174 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 microgrammes.
Theasby appeared before justices in custody, as he is serving time in prison for another matter, and pleaded guilty to drink driving and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, on March 25.
Mitigating, John Ellwood said: “The distance driven was not great and it was not a hostile taking. It was basically a case of a group of lads together in a house who’d had too much to drink.
“My client’s perception is that the man who invited him back to the house was the owner of the vehicle and he wouldn’t have minded. He didn’t go mooching the streets looking for a car to take.”
He added: “This offence was aggravated by drink, but caused in the confusion of drink.”
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Janet Henderson sentenced him to six weeks imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for three years.