Driver told police his car had been stolen after crash

Andrew Gardener was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Andrew Gardener was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A driver who told police his car had been stolen the day after he crashed into a parked car and a wall has been jailed.

Andrew Gardener, 33, of Bright Close, Bury St Edmunds, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and failing to report an accident.

The court heard how Gardener crashed his Ford Focus into a parked vehicle and a wall at a property at The Street, in Moulton, near Newmarket, around 11.30pm on April 2.

The homeowner said he heard a "massive crash" and went out to find Gardener still sitting in car.

The police were called and Gardener gave his name to the man, who then asked Gardener if he wanted something to drink.

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Gardener declined the offer and as the man went back inside his home, Gardener fled.

A police dog was brought to the scene and Gardener was traced to an address in Newmarket and breathalysed by officers. He was not over the alcohol limit.

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The following day Gardener went to Mildenhall Police Station to collect his wallet, which had been left in the car, and told officers his Ford Focus had been stolen from Newmarket.

He was arrested on April 10 and in police interview maintained that the vehicle had been stolen.

The homeowner then positively identified Gardener and he was interviewed again by police on June 10.

However, he still denied he was the driver and claimed the man may have seen him around.

The court heard that Gardener worked at the Godolphin racing stable in Newmarket as stud staff at the time of the incident.

Shade Abiodun, defending, said: "He had the RTC and he panicked. He admits it was stupid but was worried about his employers at the time finding out.

"In hindsight, he would have done things differently."

Miss Abiodun added that Gardener had split up with his partner around the time of the incident and was due to start a new job in the stud industry in Newbury in January.

Judge David Pugh sentenced Gardener to four months' imprisonment and banned him from driving for 14 months.

He received no separate penalty for the failure to report an accident charge but his driving licence was endorsed.

Gardener will service half his sentence in custody before he is released on licence.

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