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Addict avoids jail over Canvey police chase
5:50am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
A DRUG user who smoked cannabis before leading a police chase across Canvey has avoided a jail sentence.
Matthew Walsh, 25, “panicked” after spotting officers carrying out routine checks on Canvey High Street just before midnight on April 7.
He sped away, causing police to become suspicious, and reached speeds of up to 70mph as he drove through residential streets, including Mitchells Avenue, Dovervelt Road and Mornington Road.
When he reached Milton Avenue, Walsh, of The Chilterns, Canvey, lost control of his blue Ford Fiesta and crashed into a parked Citroen.
He tried to drive off, but his car was so badly damaged he was unable to do so.
When police searched his vehicle, they noticed a strong smell of cannabis, and Walsh admitted he had been smoking the Class B drug.
During his police interview, he told officers: “I just panicked when I saw the blues and twos because I had been done for weed before.”
Walsh pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving and one count of possessing cannabis.
Judge Jonathan Black sentenced him to an eight-month prison stretch, suspended for 12 months. He was made the subject of a probation order and must also complete 100 hours unpaid work and a thinking skills programme.
Addressing Walsh at Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Judge Black said: “It’s very lucky you’re in court for an offence involving driving and not for injuring someone who was in the street at the time.
“You are only here because of what appears to be your addiction to cannabis."
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