Banned driver from St Leonards caught driving stolen cars dangerously twice in two weeks

A St Leonards thief arrested for driving dangerously in a stolen car went out and did it again just ten days later, a court heard.

Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 7:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 3:38 pm
Grant Searle from St Leonards was jailed for two years

The judge said the public is ‘rightfully frightened’ of people like Grant Searle on the roads, saying his crimes were ‘appalling’.

Searle was jailed today for two years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, driving three stolen cars and driving without license or insurance.

Lewes Crown Court today heard how Searle, 27, of Chambers Road in St Leonards, was initially caught for driving a stolen car dangerously on June 11.

He appeared at Lewes Crown Court today

He was released on bail and proceeded to drive another stolen car dangerously just ten days later, this time getting away, the court heard.

Searle was finally caught on June 30 after driving yet another stolen car, and police officers arrested him at his house.

Prosecutor Sophie Evans said: “On June 11 police became aware of a stolen vehicle being driven in the St Leonards area about 12.54 in the afternoon.

“They noticed it was travelling at excessive speed and it travelled through a red traffic light.

Searle managed to escape police after the second incident

“At one point it was causing vehicles to stop and take evasive action.

“Police officers followed it. Still the vehicle did not stop.”

Searle was eventually arrested and bailed.

Ms Evans went on to describe the events of June 21, where again police were alerted to a stolen vehicle being driven erratically.

Police officers arrested Searle at his home

“Police officers say they saw the vehicle going though a junction, then the vehicle continued on the wrong side of the road.”

Searle hit a number of parked vehicles, including an RSCPA van which was left with £5,000 worth of damage.

“The police again gave chase and again Mr Searle continued to drive and did not stop.”

However this time Searle was able to escape, but not for long.

Nine days later police were alerted to a stolen Mercedes being driven, and tracked it to Searle’s home and arrested him.

Defence barrister Aidan Harvey said: “I have to accept because of the manner of driving it is obviously high culpability.”

However he said that credit should be given for Searle’s guilty pleas, because he was not caught at the scene of the crime for the second and third sets of offences.

He added: “On both occasions he managed to make good his escape and therefore he should be given credit [for his plea].”

Mr Harvey added that unlike at the time his previous offending, Searle had a steady job.

“He looked at me with a blank expression and said I can’t believe I am 27 years old and back in prison.”

Among the charges Searle pleaded guilty to was driving without a license and driving without insurance.

Searle had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to the charges, which in full are: two of aggravated vehicle taking (one incorporating dangerous driving, the other including £5,000 of vehicle damage), a separate count of dangerous driving, driving a vehicle without the owners’ consent and three charges each of driving without insurance and without a licence.

Sentencing Searle, judge Charles Kemp said his crimes were ‘appalling’.

He added: “Miraculously it does not appear that anyone was seriously injured.

“The public are rightly frightened of the actions of people like you.

“Driving without insurance is a particularly horrible offence because if you do strike someone they have no recourse.”

Searle was jailed for two years and banned from driving for four years.