Driver who used smokescreen against police sentenced
A speeding driver has been found guilty of causing danger to other road users by using a smoke device to try to evade police.
Simon Chaplin, 62, from Hebron, near Whitland, Carmarthenshire had rigged the device – made from a bucket, pumps and hoses – behind the passenger seat of his Peugeot 309, and activated it when a police officer attempted to pull him over for speeding.
The contraption, which is usually used to kill moles, did not belong to Chaplin the Daily Mail reported.
However the James Bond-esque smokescreen backfired because pursuing PC Dafydd Birch was able to follow the cloud billowing out from the car as Chaplin attempted to make his escape through country lanes.
The policeman caught up with the eccentric five miles later in a farmyard.
PC Birch added that another reason for wanting to pull Chaplin over was the unusual 'DE JURE' number plate on the Peugeot.
Chaplin had denied causing a danger to other road users, but after a trial at Swansea Crown Court he was found guilty and handed a community order of 100 hours' unpaid work.
In mitigation, he claimed that on January 19, 2015, six days before the incident, he had been dragged out of his digger by the police, who had knocked his head on the ground several times.
This incident had left him fearful of the police so when PC Birch activated his lights and sirens he panicked and fled.
At the trial, Chaplin also pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and threatening behaviour.
Sentencing him, Judge Elwen Evans QC, said: 'You caused smoke to be emitted on a village road in such circumstances that any reasonable person would know it was dangerous.
"You were driving a vehicle when a police officer told you to pull over but you took that officer a considerable distance of some five miles.
"During that pursuit you activated a contraption which was dangerous and caused smoke to be emitted from the exhaust.
"It is in very unusual circumstances that you find yourself before the court. I do not want to see you here again."