A driver has been spared jail following a reckless driving spree which involved driving the wrong way round a roundabout and hitting a funeral limousine.

Simon Bland, 49, of Colchester Road, Wivenhoe, had taken cocaine before getting behind the wheel on the morning of June 28.

After getting out of the car with a baseball bat, Bland began shouting at members of the public and, when encountering an off-duty police officer, threw the baseball bat over a nearby wall.

Bland admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, possession of a bladed article and possession of an offensive weapon.

At Chelmsford Crown Court, Judge Eyre gave Bland a two year suspended sentence, a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement, 30 days of rehabilitation activity and 250 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Eyre said there was “a clear indication” Bland was willing to address his drug dependency, and added he had a “completely different character” to the one who drove so dangerously in June.

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David Tremain, prosecuting, said Bland overtook stationary traffic on the wrong side of the road before going the wrong way round the Ipswich Road roundabout in Colchester.
He then hit a funeral limousine and narrowly missed a funeral hearse.

Under the influence of cocaine, Bland was paranoid about being killed by police officers and believed himself to be in a police chase.

A kitchen knife was recovered from the footwell of Bland’s car.

Subagarey Pathmanathan, defending, said there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and Bland had made obvious efforts to combat his drug addiction, having been declared drug free last month.

An email written by his recovery worker said he always attended his appointments and was getting “stronger by the day”.

In his closing remarks, Judge Eyre said it was extraordinary on-one was hurt.

He said: “I have to balance society’s interests – that you are punished for the appalling driving you allowed yourself to get into and dealing with your drug dependency.

“Punishing you would be wholly appropriate but on release it’s unlikely you would make any progress on your drug use.

“But this [suspended sentence] will be no soft option – some people wish they had been in prison rather than comply with the conditions of a suspended sentence.”