Pair avoid jail after Bridgnorth police chase involving stolen car containing machete and cannabis

Two men who led police on a chase though a town in a stolen car which contained a machete and bags of cannabis have avoided prison.

Omari Maitland and Jordan Brissett careered through the streets of Bridgnorth in a stolen Ford Fiesta, narrowly avoiding a series of head-on collisions, going the wrong way around roundabouts and bashing the wing mirror of a police car coming the other way.

Maitland, aged 28, was behind the wheel during the chase, which took place on August 16, 2020. The pair were on their way to pick up a birthday card and present for 21-year-old Brissett's brother, according to his defence barrister.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that police officers on patrol were alerted to a stolen car travelling around Bridgnorth - a Ford Fiesta which had been taken weeks earlier.

The officers saw the vehicle driving along Hermitage shortly after 3.30pm. They turned their car around to follow and remained in pursuit towards Stourbridge Road.

They lost touch briefly, but then saw the Fiesta coming towards them, getting so close it pushed back the wing mirror of the police car.

The Fiesta carried on towards Bridgnorth town centre and was seen in Hospital Street, forcing other cars into evasive action to avoid head on collisions, which Judge Anthony Lowe said "could have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities".

The stolen car was seen going the wrong way around a roundabout before entering a housing estate in Lodge Lane.

Officers later found the car dumped in Hermitage. There was a machete and eight bags of cannabis inside.

Maitland made his way through several back gardens before he was eventually arrested. Brissett was found one street away from where the car was left.

Maitland, of Cambridge Street, Walsall, and Brissett, of Pale Street, Dudley, both pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking. Maitland also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and driving while disqualified.

Jas Mann, defending Maitland, asked Judge Lowe to consider the fact that the case has been hanging over him for nearly two years. "He had a fairly difficult start to life," he said. Mr Mann said Maitland admitted his driving was "completely unacceptable".

Brissett's barrister told the court that he accepted his actions were "stupid" and he apologised for them.

Judge Lowe sentenced Maitland to a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. The judge also handed him 120 hours of unpaid work and 60 rehabilitation activity days. Brissett was given a six-month jail sentence, also suspended for two years, as well as 50 hours unpaid work and 35 rehabilitation activity days. Both were disqualified from driving for a year.

He told Maitland: "There comes a time when you can't rely on background and unfortunate childhoods. You are 28. What's in the past is in the past. There were at least four occasions where there could have been a collision which could have resulted in serious injuries or a fatality."

He told Brissett, who the court was told was victim of a shooting in the past: "You do skirt around fairly serious crime at times."

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