'I was camping out': Driver's claim to police who found him hiding in garden after high-speed chase

A driver who hid in a garden after a high-speed police chase and pretended he was camping out has been jailed.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 7:00 am

Lewis Craig Shields abandoned his Ford Focus but was caught laying in nearby garden where he made the claim about sleeping out, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Police had initially tried to pull the 23-year-old over near Fitzwilliam at 12.40am on June 29 last year, prosecutor Marte Alnaes said.

He appeared to slow down at first but then accelerated away, reaching speeds of up to 80mph, crossing onto the wrong side of the road and going twice around a roundabout the wrong way.

Police car (library pic)

The 12-minute chase took him along Wakefield Road, Garmil Head Lane, Doncaster Road, Offley Lane, Newstead Lane, Cow Lane, Mill Lane, Nostel Lane, Swine Lane, and Orchard Lane.

The police helicopter was also scrambled to keep him in sight.

He eventually abandoned the car after driving into a cul-de-sac, where he was found a short time later hiding.

After claiming he was camping out, he then made no comments during a police interview.

It was found that he had never had a licence or insurance.

Shields, of Oakley Street, Thorpe, has four previous convictions, but none for driving offences.

He admitted dangerous driving and driving without a licence or insurance.

The court was told that the Ford Focus belonged to him, and claimed he bought it with the anticipation of taking driving lessons and sitting his test.

Mitigating, Shila Whitehead said that Shields had been a "toxic" relationship with a woman and that he was asked to bring items to her that night, so felt he had no other option to take the car.

She said that he is illiterate, and had been working as a forklift driver but was now unemployed.

But Judge Christopher Batty told him that custody was the only option he had.

He said: "You tried to escape and you couldn't even drive.

"There was a 12-minute chase and the helicopter needed to be activated, and all because you wouldn't give yourself up."

He jailed him for 30 weeks, and gave him a driving ban for two years and 15 weeks.