Daniel Glover handed nine-month sentence after admitting taking emergency vehicle, drink-driving and obstructing police
A man who led police on a high-speed chase after stealing an ambulance response car to get home after a New Year's Eve party has been jailed for nine months.
Daniel Glover, 26, from Mile End, east London, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, drink-driving, driving without insurance and obstructing a police officer, when he appeared at Chelmsford crown court on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Michael Fraser told the court Glover had driven at up to 120mph with flashing blue lights on after stealing the car from Clacton in Essex.
Glover claimed he did not realise it was an ambulance vehicle when he took it, despite it being marked up and having blue lights on top.
He was only stopped when police deployed a stinger device to puncture the tyres. He then threatened to break an officer's nose.
Fraser told the court a police officer on patrol spotted the vehicle pulling on to the A12 at the Witham turning heading towards London.
A message had been sent alerting officers after the Honda Accord was reported stolen.
He said: "He took up the chase just after 4am and a helicopter was scrambled. He drove at speeds of up to 120mph and consistently over 100mph. At intervals the blue lights were flashing and he straddled the lanes in a careless manner.
"A police stinger was deployed, puncturing the tyres, and he came to a gradual halt."
When he was stopped, Glover smelt of alcohol and told an officer "I'm going to break your nose", Fraser said. He was found to be twice the legal drink-drive limit.
In a statement read to the court, Steven Keating, deputy operations manager for the east of England ambulance service, said the theft came at the same time as a fatal incident in Clacton.
While paramedics attended that incident in good time, it meant a less well-equipped vehicle had to be deployed to other emergencies.
In an interview, Glover told police he had drunk two pints of lager and had fallen out with the people he was with.
In his statement, he said: "I didn't know it was an ambulance. I was just playing with the equipment and couldn't work out how to turn it off so just kept pressing buttons."
Peter Barlex, mitigating, said Glover had a job delivering taxis.
"It was very dark and he wasn't sure it was an ambulance. He had fallen out with his friend and was in an unfamiliar town without any money, no credit on his phone and no idea where he was."
Jailing Glover, Judge Anthony Goldstaub said: "You stole this vehicle on a night of the year when the need for it to preserve life and help the ill and injured was at its greatest."
Glover was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.