A taxi hit a lamp-post in Lowestoft after the handbrake was released during a row between the driver and two passengers about the fare, a court has heard.

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Terence Sorrell and Thomas Thurston, who had both been drinking had flagged down a taxi driven by Cruc Yediayli in Oulton Broad and asked to be taken to Yarmouth Road, Ipswich Crown Court heard last week.

When the taxi reached its destination there was an argument about the fare and one of the passengers had released the handbrake causing the taxi to hit a lamp-post, said Michael Crimp, prosecuting.

Sorrell and Thurston had then made off without paying their fare.

Sorrell, 24, of Station Road, Corton and Thurston, 25, of Kevington Drive, Oulton Broad admitted common assault and making off without payment and were each given a conditional discharge for two years last Friday.

They were also each ordered to pay the taxi driver £100 compensation and to pay £250 prosecution costs.

Judge Roderick Newton said he was taking an exceptional course by sentencing the men to a conditional discharge.

He said that neither of them had any previous convictions and it was unlikely they would appear before a court again.

He said their judgement had been affected by drink and their “blood had been up”.

“I take the view you were unwise and immature and it is time you grew up,” he added.

Raj Joshi for Thurston said his client was in work and while training as a heating engineer iin 2011 he had been named Apprentice of the Year for the whole of East Anglia.

“The offences were completely out of character,” said Mr Joshi.

Samantha Leigh for Sorrell said her client had no previous convictions

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