Teen driver jailed for speeding across park A TEENAGER has been jailed for speeding away from police across a children’s play park.

Liam Stevens, 19, was seen by police driving a battered-looking Ford Ka in Middle Road, Shoreham.

When officers tried to stop the uninsured car Stevens, of Ormonde Way, Shoreham, tore away, clipping kerbs, making hasty turns and driving straight across Parklands Park in Wilmot Road before eventually crashing into a wall.

With passengers in the car, he damaged the garden walls of three properties, causing hundreds of pounds of damage after the police gave chase on September 19 last year.

Magistrates yesterday decided his actions were so dangerous that they had no choice but to jail him.

Probation officers told Brighton Magistrates’ Court that Stevens had a string of juvenile convictions for drugs and dishonesty and this incident showed he was at a high risk of reoffending and harming the public. He told probation officers he had fled because he had cannabis in the car.

Kevin Thomson, prosecuting, said officers in a marked patrol car followed Stevens then turned on their blue lights to try to stop him after he clipped a kerb as he sped away.

Mr Thomson said: “He then made a turn into Parklands and drove on to the grass area of the park. In the park there is a fenced-off children’s play area.

“The vehicle was seen driving erratically. It went through a small gap between a brick wall and a wooden fence. Police followed and the officers could see it had crashed into a front garden wall in Williams Road and various people were running away from the vehicle. One of those people was the defendant.”

Toby Brothers, defending Stevens, said: “He says he thoroughly regrets this matter.

“Mr Stevens accepts he was the driver of the car. He had purchased it the day before, then gone back to pick it up. He knew he shouldn’t have driven it without insurance and only on a provisional licence when there wasn’t anyone in the car who could supervise him.

“He saw the police car right behind him in his wing mirror and he panicked.”

Magistrates ruled that the offences were made more serious because Stevens continued to try to drive away whilst being pursued by the police and had put his passengers and other members of the public at “significant risk of injury”.

Stevens admitted dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving without a licence or insurance, and was jailed for 26 weeks, disqualified from driving for 24 months and ordered to complete an advanced driving test before he is allowed back on the road.