Gainsborough man stole lead in breach of sentence for police pursuit

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

A Gainsborough man who was given a suspended jail term following a police pursuit through the town has admitted breaching the sentence by stealing lead from a roof.

Matthew Clayton, 38, was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence in January 2017 after he drove at almost twice the speed limit to shake off pursuing police officers.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Clayton reached 50mph in a 30mph limit area and at one point rammed a police car.

READ MORE: Residents 'petrified' after man stabbed in Gainsborough

He also repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road before eventually abandoning the vehicle and trying to run off.

But Clayton, of Spring Gardens, Gainsborough, was spared jail after the court was told he had been taking medication for a psychiatric issue and accepted his driving was "awful".

Clayton was given an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years, with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pass an extended driving test before he is allowed his licence back.

But a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday was told Clayton breached his original sentence by stealing lead from a roof and admitted a charge of theft.

Claire Howell, mitigating, argued Clayton should not be sent to jail as it had taken police a year to charge him for the lead theft offence.

Miss Howell said: "During that time Mr Clayton's circumstances have changed greatly and he is in a much better place."

Judge Simon Hirst agreed to adjourn sentence on Clayton for an updated probation report, but warned him that he was making "no promises" about avoiding jail.

The judge said: "On the face of it someone who gets a suspended sentence in January 2017 and then steals lead from a roof 15 months later is taking a risk.

"It is however right to say that it has taken a year to charge you with this offence."

READ MORE: Public transport in Gainsborough has come a long way in the last decade

The original sentence hearing was told Clayton attracted the attention of police officers when he was seen steering his car far too wide and then over-correcting his steering.

He was pursued out along the A156 and then crossed the A631. He struck the kerb while negotiating a roundabout before driving along Ashcroft Road on the wrong side of the road.

Clayton made three circuits of a roundabout with his tyres screeching before heading along Lea Road and then doing a u-turn.

A police car was parked up in an attempt to stop him but he drove into the vehicle and pushed it out of the way. He continued along Summergangs Lane at 60mph before taking a sharp turn to the right and colliding with a fence.