Friday, January 13, 2006

The Thanet Top Gear Experience

A night out for four young men in Thanet can be expensive these days but according to a story in our local paper, there’s relatively cheap and risk free fun to be had stealing and wrecking people’s cars.

The paper reports that scaffolder Thomas Hembling who stole a Vauxhall Nova from Westgate in September, was chased through Manston and Shottendane Road with no license, no insurance and three friends in the car, and must pay £200 compensation to the owner of the car he wrecked.

Police attempted to stop the car with a “Stinger”, puncturing the tyres but that didn’t stop him. Hembling was banned from driving for a year (but he reportedly has no license anyway) and was fined £460 with £43 costs. None of the four were given a custodial sentence.

So let me see if I understand this correctly? You can steal a car, almost wreck it and be chased by the police at high speed along our local roads, presenting a potentially lethal danger to anyone who might cross your path, all for rather less than the cost of a day out for four at the Brands Hatch "Top Gear" experience.

This sounds like a rather good deal to me given the level of adrenalin-fuelled excitement involved in the chase and the attempt to escape the police dog at the end.

I wonder if our criminal justice system has lost its marbles completely with examples such as this one. Where I ask is the deterrent, any deterrent and the proper compensation to the person whose property has been stolen and/or damaged?


Cllr David Green said...

I know that you are not generally a supporter of performance targets and league tables but how about publishing figures for local magistrates performance? Why not some scrutiny of what this unelected bunch are up to? Perhaps your friends at the Gazette could take note of whose responsible for these decisions?

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I know other people who are in prison for years for murder, when, at the most they committed manslaughter. So, I know that justice system is totally up the spout. Perhaos these kids were relatives of the judge.

Nethercourt said...

I appreciate that magistrates are limited in the punishments they can award. But surely in cases like this they could have the nous to push the case 'upstairs' where, just possibly, the case might be heard by a judge who's experience of life did'nt end in the 1950's!
These maniacs are risking lives, causing mayhem, costing us a fortune and walking out of the courts laughing!!!

James Maskell said...

Unfortunately Nethercourt, it cant be shoved up to the next level which I would guess would be the Crown Court, as the crime isnt serious enough.