Drug-driver with 100 previous convictions who stole a caravan which overturned on A12 in Essex is jailed

The caravan being towed by Paul Rackham overturned on the A12 near Chelmsford. Picture: SU ANDERSON

The caravan being towed by Paul Rackham overturned on the A12 near Chelmsford. Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Su Anderson

A man who was towing a stolen caravan which overturned on the A12 causing long tailbacks has been jailed for six months.

Shortly before the accident at around 6am on July 20 last year, a driver who was following the caravan and the Nissan Terrano that was towing it noticed the caravan swerving from side to side and then saw it flip over after hitting the kerb, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The Nissan and caravan came to a stop in the fast lane and blocked the road, said Michael Crimp, prosecuting.

The driver was seen climbing out of the sunroof and when he was asked if he was alright he appeared jumpy and nervous. He told a witness: “I’ve got to go. I’m on a ban,” before running off across the A12 and into a hedge.

Police arrived to deal with the blocked section of road, which was near Chelmsford, and discovered that the caravan had false number plates and had been stolen from an address near Bury St Edmunds.


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Officers used a dog unit to locate the driver who was hiding in undergrowth not far from the scene of the accident.

He admitted to police he had been the driver of the vehicle towing the caravan and had lost control.

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The court heard the caravan, which was worth £10,000, was a write-off as a result of damage caused in the collision.

Before the court was Paul Rackham, 49, of no fixed address, who admitted driving without due care and attention, no insurance, driving while disqualified, theft and driving with the quantity of drug in his system above the specified limit.

In addition to being jailed, Rackham was banned from driving for 15 months.

Sentencing Rackham, Recorder John Brooke-Smith said: “From what I’ve heard this was a particularly alarming and shocking piece of driving. It’s an absolute miracle that no-one was seriously hurt in the course of it.”

The court heard police officers suspected Rackham was under the influence of something and a sample showed he had more than twice the legal limit of a prescribed drug in his system.

The court heard that Rackham has more than 100 previous convictions.

Paul Donegan, for Rackham, said his client had a long standing drug habit.

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