Drunk took £300,000 bus on police chase joyride
A DRUNK stole a £300,000 bus before taking it on a joyride in scenes reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, a court heard.
Stephen Pope smashed into parked cars, drove on the opposite side of the road and caused drivers to swerve out of his path as he was pursued by police through Wakefield.
Pope was jailed for almost two years yesterday after being told he had an obsession with driving public service vehicles.
Pope stole his second bus of the evening on July 27 this year from Wakefield bus station.
Leeds Crown Court heard Pope rammed a police car which pulled across his path to prevent him getting away.
He then crossed the central reservation of the A650 and drove into the path of oncoming vehicles. The bus struck three parked vehicles and embedded one of them into a wall, causing £2,000 worth of damage.
Police officers managed to force their way onto the bus and used to a baton and a taser to subdue Pope, who had drunk two litres of cider.
He was later found to be almost twice the drink drive limit.
Simon Reevell, prosecuting, said Pope had also stolen a bus from the station earlier in the day but left it parked a short distance away.
The court was told Pope also caused £6,500 worth of damage when he stole a bus from the station 12 days earlier, on July 15.
On that occasion he boarded the bus when it was unattended and collided with two other buses before he fled the scene.
Pope, of Peterson Road, Eastmoor, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to two offences of aggravated vehicle taking, two of driving while disqualified, three of having no insurance, drink driving and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
The court heard Pope has previous convictions for stealing buses.
Nicky Forster, mitigating, described the offences as opportunistic as the buses could be operated without the use of a key.
She urged Recorder Paul Isaacs to consider imposing a community penalty so he could receive help for his drink and drug problems.
Jailing Pope for 98 weeks, he said: “It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. Instead of it being a tank or a ridiculous fast car, it was a bus and the chase was on. I would like to be able to give you a chance but you have to give yourself a chance.
“I have a duty to the public, who would aghast if I were to take the course suggested in this case.