Former soldier crashed after taking car

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court

A former soldier took a friend’s car after a disagreement at a poker game and was involved in two crashes while being pursued by the police.

Dale Homer drove off in the car after losing a sizeable amount of money – and then panicked when he was asked to pull over by police.

Homer, a 27-year-old father-of-five, a labourer, formerly of Braithwaite Street, North Shore, Blackpool, now living in Marquis Avenue, Bury, pleaded guilty to the aggravated taking of a Ford Fiesta, failing to stop after a road traffic accident, not stopping when ordered to by a police constable, driving without insurance and not in accordance with his learner’s licence.

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said a man went to play poker at an address in Cavendish Road on February 24, and parked his two-year-old Ford Fiesta outside.

At 4.30am he wanted to leave and found his car keys missing from the side.

He returned home to his girlfriend who said the police had been round with dogs saying his car had crashed.

Homer had taken the keys and driven off in the friend’s car with a woman passenger.

Police had signalled him to stop, but he drove away crashing into two parked cars in the cul-de-sac of Sheringham Way, Poulton, before fleeing.

In a victim’s impact statement, the complainant said his insurance company would not pay up to repair the damage to his car.

It had made his family life very difficult, his children were missing out and an hour’s bus ride had been added to his working day.

Brett Chappell, defending, said his client wanted to make a heartfelt apology to the victim.

Homer realised he had let himself down massively.

After losing a fair amount of money at the poker game, Homer had acted irrationally in taking the car.

He had intended to drive it away from the address and re-park it nearby.

He had panicked after police indicated he should pull over.

Homer was sentenced to 12 weeks’ prison suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work for the community, banned from the road for 12 months, and told to pay £2,500 compensation by Blackpool magistrates.