Motoring suspect hid from police by putting a blanket over his head

A motoring suspect tried to put a blanket over his head to hide from police who knocked at his door.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 29th October 2021, 12:27 pm

Liam James Hirst bizarrely moved the sofa in the property and covered himself with the sheet as police peered through the window, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Glenn Parsons told the court that 30-year-old Hirst was spotted driving a Fiat 500 by police at around 11.20pm on May 23 last year heading towards the Hemsworth area.

It was lockdown at the time, so officers intended to pull him over but he sped up when they turned to follow him.

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Leeds Crown Court.

A check on the vehicle found it was registered to a female and no male was insured to drive it.

He eventually turned into Tombridge Crescent in Kinsley, where he got out of the car and was seen entering his home.

It was there the police saw him move the sofa and get under the blanket.

The police entered the property and found Hirst, saying he smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet, so was arrested.

He then started shouting at a female occupant elsewhere in the property to tell the police that he had been there the whole time.

He then refused to get in the police car and began struggling. He was taken to the ground before swinging his head violently at the arresting officer, who was able to quickly move with Hirst's head brushing the officer's nose.

They then used PAVA spray on him but he continued to be aggressive, maintaining he had not been driving.

He later admitted a charge of assaulting a police officer.

Hirst has 20 convictions for 35 offences, including numerous theft and vehicle-related incidents, plus two convictions for actual bodily harm and one for resisting arrest.

Mitigating, Richard Reed said that Hirst was beginning to turn his life around and was "wanting to move away from offending" and now had a job as a forklift driver.

Mr Reed said: "He has done well to secure employment given his history."

He said that Hirst had previously been in a car accident and had 19 plates in 21 screws inserted into his body, including his pelvis, leg and neck.

Speaking about the latest incident, Me Reed said: "There were three officers on top of him, and he is a man not of good health.

"He very much regrets the resistance he showed to the police officers."

Judge Simon Phillips QC told Hirst: "Serious injury would have been expected had the police officer not moved his head.

"You were abusive and irate and refused to calm down. Because of your behaviour it was necessary to use PAVA spray to subdue you."

The judge described the incident as a "serious matter" but accepted Hirst was making progress, having secured a job.

He gave him a community order with 60 hours of unpaid work.

The driving charges related to the incident are to be heard at Leeds Magistrates' Court.