Norfolk drugs driver crashed after police chase while on cocaine

PUBLISHED: 16:28 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 21 May 2020

Peter Walsh

Charlie Barnes ended up in a ditch following a police pursuit. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Charlie Barnes ended up in a ditch following a police pursuit. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary


A driver on cocaine crashed into a ditch after a high speed police chase sparked by an argument with another motorist over drugs.

Norwich Crown Court heard Charlie Barnes, 22, had got "scared" following some sort of altercation over drugs. Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, said he "drove off at speed" while still under the influence as he was scared.

The court heard Barnes, who was in a flatbed truck, was being followed by someone who he thought had a knife. Mr Oliver said officers became aware of two vehicles appearing to be travelling at speed towards Didlington in the early hours of November 19 last year. It was noted by officers that the vehicles seemed to be speeding.

They were followed through Litcham and Little Fransham before one of the vehicles was stopped. Mr Oliver said police continued to pursue Barnes who continued down a narrow country road. Police saw that Barnes was "going to try and go off road" but be ended up crashing into a ditch.

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Mr Oliver said the length of the incident had been about seven miles although the dangerous driving had not been for that distance.

Barnes, who was found to have cocaine in his system. Barnes, of Podmore Lane, Scarning, appeared at court on Thursday (May 21) having previously admitted dangerous driving. Judge Andrew Shaw said it was a "serious incident of dangerous driving".

Judge Shaw said Barnes had been driving well in excess of the speed limit and had risked the safety of the police officers who were "doing their job to keep the public safe". The judge said had anyone else been on the road he would have been putting them at risk too. Judge Shaw sentenced Barnes to an 18-month community order made up of 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) and 150 hours unpaid work.

Barnes was also disqualified from driving for two years. John Morgans, mitigating, said he deeply regrets the incident which was down to his addiction to drugs. Mr Morgans said he had panicked during the incident which had reflected a lack of maturity but he added it had been a "wake up call" for Barnes who was determined to never be in the same position again.

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