Alcoholic in bus joyride

A HOMELESS alcoholic who took a bus for a joyride round Ipswich town centre has been jailed.

IPSWICH: Drunk joyrider Martin Edwards was branded “reckless” today after causing mayhem with a stolen bus.

The homeless 44-year-old smashed the single-decker First vehicle into railings near Ipswich police station after pinching it from the Old Cattle Market depot.

Despite his drunken state, he managed to park it back at the depot – having caused �1,000 of damage – but was finally snared after police found his DNA on a cigarette butt on the vehicle.

Jailing Edwards for 60 days, district judge David Cooper said his actions were “incredibly reckless”, adding: “You know it could have been terribly dangerous.

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“I’m afraid I do have to send you to prison – you have an atrocious record.”

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard how the net closed in on Edwards after he was spotted careering around in the bus by so-called “supercop” Sgt Ali Livingstone in the early hours of April 14.

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The court was told Edwards, of no fixed address, was joined on the joyride by 22-year-old Jennifer Thompson.

Police caught him when they found a discarded cigarette butt on the vehicle with his DNA on it. He told police in interview that he had been “very drunk”.

Thompson, of Old Foundry Road, Ipswich, handed herself in to police after hearing Edwards had been arrested, saying it “wasn’t right that he should take all the blame.”

They both admitted aggravated vehicle taking yesterday.

Craig Marchant, mitigating, said Edwards had a “serious alcohol problem” and made full and frank admissions to the police during interview.

“He is on the streets and wants to get off the streets, to get into work and find accommodation,” said Mr Marchant. “But who will employ an alcoholic who is on the streets?”

Judge Cooper responded: “Well the bus company won’t, will they?”

He told Edwards that alcohol was “the total explanation” for his crime.

“I didn’t even know he could drive – I don’t suppose he did either,” he added.

Thompson, who the court heard had a personality disorder and had slept rough before recently finding accommodation, was fined �100 and ordered to pay �85 costs and a �15 Government surcharge.

Judge Cooper said the decision to hand herself into police was “very laudable.”

n Was it right to jail him? Does he need help? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@evening

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