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How police got driver to admit throwing rocks at almost 100 vehicles

PUBLISHED: 09:40 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:43 21 November 2019

The shattered windscreen of Gemma Wiles' Skoda, after being struck by an object on the A143 between Harleston and Diss, and Aaron Hurley who committed a number of incidents of criminal damage on roads. Picture: Gemma Wiles/BBC Look East/PA Wire

The shattered windscreen of Gemma Wiles' Skoda, after being struck by an object on the A143 between Harleston and Diss, and Aaron Hurley who committed a number of incidents of criminal damage on roads. Picture: Gemma Wiles/BBC Look East/PA Wire

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Police have revealed how a man who drove around throwing rocks at passing vehicles admitted almost 100 offences during a two week spree despite limited evidence.

Taxi driver David Thompson's Toyota Avensis was badly damaged when a brick was thrown at car on the A143. Picture: David ThompsonTaxi driver David Thompson's Toyota Avensis was badly damaged when a brick was thrown at car on the A143. Picture: David Thompson

Aaron Hurley, 25, of Hardley Road, Langley, was sentenced this week after committing a number of incidents of criminal damage on roads near the Norfolk and Suffolk border.

Hurley had been charged with four counts of criminal damage to vehicles and four counts of causing a danger to road users. He had admitted at Norwich Magistrates' Court on June 19 to three counts of causing a danger to other road users in relation to incidents on the A140 at Pulham Market, the A47 Acle Straight in Great Yarmouth and on the A143 at Stockton.

He denied a fourth count in relation to an incident on the A143 at Thorpe Abbots in which a Triumph Spitfire was damaged by a rock.

Gemma Wiles from Harleston was left badly shaken when her car was hit by an object on the A143 . Picture: Simon ParkinGemma Wiles from Harleston was left badly shaken when her car was hit by an object on the A143 . Picture: Simon Parkin

Police had received reports from motorists that rocks or objects had been thrown at their vehicles from an oncoming car during the period between May and June, in various villages and towns along the A146, A143 and the B1062.

MORE: Man kept bag of rocks in car to throw at 100 vehicles

Between his arrest and sentencing, Hurley chose to work with the Operation Converter Team and went on to admit 91 further offences in relation to criminal damage to vehicles.

Detective Constable Barry Simpson, from the Operation Converter TIC Unit, said: "Hurley was visited while on bail and it was clear that there were numerous police investigations that matched the circumstances of the offences for which he had been charged.

"After the TIC process was explained to Hurley and his family, a lengthy interview was conducted where he made voluntary admissions to further offences, with the vast majority having very limited information or detail from the victims.

"This was mainly due to them driving on dark roads with the headlights from oncoming traffic when their vehicle was struck by something. Many of the reports to Norfolk and Suffolk police came as a result of the initial media release."

Operation Converter is an initiative aimed at encouraging offenders to admit their crimes. This means police are able to give victims some peace of mind that someone has been caught and the offender has the opportunity to clear their slate so they can have a fresh start without the possibility they will later be traced for a further offence.

Motorists reported their vehciles being struck by rocks on the A143 and the A146 during a two week spree. Picture: James BassMotorists reported their vehciles being struck by rocks on the A143 and the A146 during a two week spree. Picture: James Bass

Offenders have to give sufficient detail for officers to be sure they have committed the crime and these offences are then 'taken into consideration' at sentencing.

Hurley appeared at Norwich Crown Court on November 18, where he was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was given a three-year treatment order. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85 and ordered to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Det Con Simpson said: "For the investigating officers to be able to update their respective victims with the news that Hurley had not specifically targeted them or their vehicles, will hopefully provide a conclusion to this spate of identical crimes."

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