Plumber led police on dangerous 100mph pursuit through St Leonards before running off

James Poole from Battle was jailed for 20 months for dangerous driving. Picture: Sussex Police
James Poole from Battle was jailed for 20 months for dangerous driving. Picture: Sussex Police

A serial criminal who stole a car and led police on a lengthy 100mph car pursuit through St Leonards has been jailed.

James Poole took a high-speed joyride along Battle Road in June and ran off before police could arrest him, a court heard.

Traffic is reportedly queueing

Traffic is reportedly queueing

But police tracked him down from a credit card he left behind and he was sentenced to 20 months in prison today.

Judge Christine Laing QC told him it was ‘one of the worst cases of dangerous driving I have seen for some time’.

Hove Crown Court was shown police dashcam footage of the pursuit, which went on for several minutes at speeds of up to 100mph on June 24, 2018.

Poole, 24, could be seen driving at high speeds past cars and houses, stopping occasionally before speeding up in an apparent attempt to evade police.

The police officers themselves are at risk as they try to bring you to a stop

Judge Christine Laing QC

When police found the car at a standstill, they discovered the driver had got away, the court heard.

Prosecutor Naomi Edwards said: “The officer carried out a search of that vehicle and found a credit card belonging to Mr Poole and it was from that that they were able to identify him.”

Poole, who the court heard has a host of previous convictions, hails from Caldbec Hill in Battle, according to the court lists.

Defence barrister Pierce Power said: “It is a shame when one reads from the offender management report that describes this defendant as clever, insightful and motivated when he chooses to be.

The trial is taking place at Hove Crown Court

The trial is taking place at Hove Crown Court

“A capacity to lead a constructive life.

“Shame indeed that he once again will go to prison for a not insignificant period of time.”

He said the incident resulted from a quarrel between Poole and his partner.

“In anger he decided to take her car to go for a ride.”

Mr Power pointed out that the pursuit was at night, and argued it was ‘perhaps less dangerous in these circumstances to pedestrians’.

He added: “He wants to be a plumber to provide, settle down and stay out of trouble.”

Judge Laing said it was ‘wholly beyond’ her understanding why Poole would commit such crimes.

She said: “This is perhaps one of the worst cases of dangerous driving I have seen for some time.

“There are a number of vehicles on the road.

“The police officers themselves are at risk as they try to bring you to a stop.

“You cause damage to two other vehicles as well as the police car and you did everything you could to make it as dangerous as possible.

“It really is nothing short of miraculous that nobody was killed.”

Poole was jailed for 20 months and banned from driving for four years and ten months.

Police dashcam footage is expected to be released to the Observer soon. Check back for updates.