Drunk teenager sentenced over bus joyride
Shutterstock / Rob Wilson
An Essex teenager has been sentenced to four months' detention after stealing a bus and taking it on a drunken early morning joyride.
Ashley Barrell admitted stealing the single decker bus from the First depot in Colchester on August 24 while under the influence of alcohol, at Colchester Magistrates' Court.
Police were alerted after a security guard spotted the 19-year-old starting the bus and driving off.
The court heard that in his inebriated stupor, Barrell caused carnage in the depot, crashing the stolen vehicle into two other buses, before ramming his way through the depot's locked metal gate, the East Anglian Daily Times reports. The total cost of the damage was estimated at around £2,000.
He then drove the bus towards his local estate at around 20mph, where he was witnessed mounting the kerb while attempting to negotiate a series of mini roundabouts.
Barrell was finally stopped after police officers deployed a stinger and punctured the bus's tyres. Upon arrest he was breathalysed and found to be nearly twice the legal drink-drive limit.
His defence representative had asked Magistrates to show leniency by considering a suspended prison sentence, particularly due to him being a father to a young son.
Laughably, Barrell had even expressed a hope to help wash buses at the depot as part of his punishment.
However, as he already had three previous convictions for taking vehicles without consent, he was sentenced to four month's detention, and a further three months for drink-driving, to be served concurrently.
Sentencing Barrell, Chairman of the bench Miss Dair, said: "We have considered everything and have come to the conclusion after careful consideration that the need to punish is greater than the need to rehabilitate. These offences are so serious only custody is justified.
"You broke into a locked premises, you stole a bus, you rammed the garage gates and you were under the influence of alcohol while driving along the public highway.
"You have had a series of previous failures to engage with probation and respond to other previous orders of the court."
On top of his custodial sentence, Barrell was also banned from driving for 18 months.