Man took police van on 15-mile curry-fuelled joyride and demanded money from drivers
- Credit: Archant
A man who stole a police van and demanded money from drivers he pulled over before abandoning it 15 miles away with curry stains on the seats has been jailed for more than two years.
Sean Warman drove off in the Vauxhall van which had been left outside Lowestoft police station with the engine running because it had a flat battery at 9pm on November 10, with police then receiving a number of reports from members of the public who saw the vehicle being driven erratically and 'swerving all over the road' in the Lowestoft area.
The vehicle was eventually found abandoned four hours later, 15 miles away in a pub car park in Bungay with a dent and scuff marks caused by Warman driving it into a bush, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
The police radio in the vehicle had been ripped out and curry stains from a takeaway meal Warman had stolen earlier in the evening was also found on the seats.
Stephen Mather, prosecuting, told the court that after taking the van Warman had illuminated the blue flashing lights and pulled over a car driven by a man in St Peter's Street Lowestoft.
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Warman, who wasn't wearing a police uniform and was slurring his speech approached the car and opened the car door and asked the man if he was drunk.
Warman told him: 'Give me £30 and I'll let you off' and when the man opened his wallet and took out money he then told him to give him £50.
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When the man hesitated Warman said: 'Come on you don't want to lose your licence' and handed over a further £20 which Warman took and walked away.
The court heard that the man, who had never broken the law or been stopped by police, was left shocked by the incident.
Another man was pulled over and was asked by Warman if he had been drinking.
Warman said he was going to breathalyse him but the driver was uneasy and got back into his vehicle and dialled 999, at which point the defendant drove off.
Warman was also seen to drive off a forecourt and cross both lanes of a road into a bush before reversing on to a footpath.
The court heard that another member of the public saw blue flashing lights outside a house opposite his home in Holton.
He approached Warman, thinking he was a policeman and Warman had asked him if he could 'sort him out' meaning could he supply him with drugs,
The man, who had no involvement with drugs, moved away because he thought he was being tricked or tested and Warman had then asked him if he had been drinking and threatened to breathalyse him and swab his mouth.
Warman, 28, of Abigail Court, Lowestoft, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, two offences of impersonating a police officer and two offences of theft.
He was jailed for a total of 25 months and banned from driving for three years.
He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to the driver of the car he stopped and £42 for food he stole from an Indian takeaway restaurant.
Sentencing him, judge Martyn Levett said the offences committed by Warman undermined public confidence in the police.
He said that by taking the police van and damaging it the vehicle hadn't been available for use for emergencies.
Michael Clare, mitigating, said his client had no memory of the evening in question and thought his drink might have been spiked.