Bus joyrider jailed after leaving trail of destruction

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A YOB who caused a trail of damage when he crashed a stolen bus has been locked up.

Adam Winfield, 20, was waiting to catch a service home from Peterlee Bus Station at about 10pm on April 26 when he started up the Arriva single decker, stopping to pick up a teenage passenger on the way.

Prosecutor Martin Towers told Durham Crown Court of a catalogue of incidents as Winfield drove the two-mile route to Shotton Colliery, pulling out of junctions without stopping, hitting traffic cones, driving on the wrong side of the road and over a roundabout.

Drivers flashed their lights in an attempt to alert him that the bus’s lights were off.

The journey came to a disastrous end when it hit parked vehicles and a telegraph pole, with another also falling, stopping when it crashed into a garden wall and a car on a driveway in Shotton Colliery.

The court heard residents in Marcia Avenue and Station Road have been left counting the cost of Winfield’s actions, with one out of pocket by £11,200 and another by £5,000.

Northern Electric Distribution Limited estimated the cost of damage to its equipment at £25,000.

Arriva put the price of repairs to its vehicle at the same amount.

Nearby telephone lines were down for eight days and 100 homes were left without power on the night of the collision.

Father-of-one Winfield, of Church Road, Trimdon Station, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and without a licence.

Stephen Duffield, mitigating, said: “I know he is at a loss to explain why it was that he got involved in these circumstances.

“He was going through some difficulties with his partner and he was spending more time with his male friends.”

In addition to a 12-month term in a young offenders’ institution, Winfield was banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended test.

Recorder Neil Davey QC described the incident as “horrific”.

He added: “It is the worst episode of dangerous driving I have ever heard.

“It is absolutely right in these circumstances you are given a custodial sentence.”

The 17-year-old passenger, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, during which he allowed himself to be carried in the vehicle and it was driven dangerously.

He was given a 18-month youth rehabilitation order, with 12 months’ supervision, a four-month 7pm to 9am curfew and was disqualified from holding a driving licence for 12 months.

Glenn Gatland, mitigating on his behalf, said he shouted at Winfield to bring the vehicle under control and explained they had waited 20 minutes for their service to turn up and the walk home along country lanes would have taken two hours.