Mercedes chased for 10 miles by police after being stolen from Wolverhampton casino

A car thief led police on a 10-mile chase through urban streets and country roads in a stolen Mercedes before colliding with the patrol car that was trying to stop him, a court heard.

Police found Ezekiel Nugent on a canal towpath
Police found Ezekiel Nugent on a canal towpath

Ezekiel Nugent, 21, drove through red traffic lights and across junctions without slowing down as he sped along South Staffordshire streets trying to shake off the officers.

He had earlier stolen the Mercedes from the car park of a casino in Wolverhampton city centre just after midnight on September 1 last year, said Mr Ian Ball, prosecuting.

The car was spotted by police in the Shortheath area of Walsall and was followed by officers for three or four minutes at normal speeds until they reached Poplar Road.

Stinger attempt

Here an officer on foot attempted to stop the Mercedes with a stinger device but was foiled when another car got in the way.

Nugent's speeds increased as he raced through residential roads around Willenhall and New Invention, reaching 75mph on country lanes around Essington before heading back towards Wolverhampton.

Dascam footage from the police car showed the Mercedes strike a kerb at speed, causing a back tyre to deflate.

The defendant, who had only a provisional licence, continued to drive even when the tyre came completely off the rim a couple of minutes later, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

But the damage had slowed the car down enough for officers to overtake and box him in.

Helicopter and police dog

As the patrol car came to a halt, Nugent drove into the back of it and ran off on foot, said Mr Ball.

A force helicopter picked him out on the canal towpath near Wolverhampton Road and a police dog located him hiding in bushes.

The police pursuit had lasted almost 12 minutes and the collision caused £1,000 to the patrol car, the court heard.

The Mercedes, which had been bought on eBay for £700, was a write-off.

Mr Jamie Scott, defending, said Nugent had been involved on the fringes of a drugs and gang culture in his native Walsall and had since moved to Devon to start a new life.

The defendant, who has just become a first-time father, was determined to turn his back on his former ways and had kicked his cocaine habit.

Fatherhood had had a "powerful and sobering effect" on him, said Mr Scott.

Nugent, of Torquay, Devon, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

He was handed a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work. He was also disqualified from driving for two years.

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