Man escapes prison sentence after driving into business rival’s hairdressers

The van crashed into The Hairdresser in Old Road, Clacton, in May Picture: JON COWAN

The van crashed into The Hairdresser in Old Road, Clacton, in May Picture: JON COWAN - Credit: Archant

A man who drove his van into a business rival’s hairdressing salon in Clacton and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage has escaped a prison sentence.

Shaun McCann, 56, of Dedham Avenue, Clacton, was charged with dangerous driving and criminal damage after the incident in the coastal town in May.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how CCTV captured McCann driving his Volkswagen Caddy along Pier Road, Clacton, at 8.25am on Sunday, May 6, before making a left turn into Old Road and driving into the front of The Hairdresser.

The van reversed and then drove back into the building more than 20 times before a member of the public intervened and took the key from the vehicle. The crash caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to The Hairdresser, which is co-owned by Neil Anthony – a former employee of McCann’s who had left to start his own business.

The salon had only been open two days prior to the incident and was forced to close for seven weeks to undergo extensive refurbishment work.

Speaking to the EADT, Mr Anthony, 35, said: “I’m quite happy with the sentence. I wouldn’t have wanted him to go to prison.

“Fortunately I wasn’t in the shop at the time but I did arrive just after it had happened.

“When I saw the police and fire engines, I thought something was on fire but as I got closer I realised what had happened.

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“There was hardly anything left standing in the shop.

“It has affected me more than I thought it would but onwards and upwards. I can draw a line under it now.”

McCann had initially denied the offences but later pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Wednesday to a total of two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, banned from driving for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay £510 costs.

During interview, McCann denied the offences, saying he could not remember driving into the salon.

Sergeant Matthew Alexander, from Clacton local policing team, said: “The victim in this case has been through a very trying time and I’m pleased that McCann has accepted his guilt.

“There was no evidence to back up McCann’s claim that he could not remember what happened and eventually he changed his plea. He made the decision to drive his van into the victim’s shop after a disagreement.

“It was a very aggressive course of action, and it is very lucky that nobody was injured or killed.”