Man jailed after petrol station raids

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A 32-year-old man who committed a series of offences, including dangerous driving, including reversing into a police car at speed, and raiding thousands worth of tobacco from petrol stations in Suffolk has been sentenced.

Keiron Watkins was sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment at Norwich Crown Court last week (11 August 2020) after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance, failing to stop, possessing a phone in prison without authority, receiving stolen goods and two counts of burglary.

The court heard the driving offences related to an incident that happened on 7 May this year when Watkins was driving a Vauxhall Astra on Beccles Road in Lowestoft when he was pulled over by police in a marked car with blue lights flashing. Initially stopping, Watkins then drove a short distance before putting the Astra in reverse, crashing into the police car, damaging the bonnet and causing the officer to suffer whiplash.

Watkins then fled the scene at high speed before being spotted by an off-duty police officer who was cycling on Church Lane in Carlton Colville. Watkins was detained moments later.

He admitted a charge of receiving stolen goods after he was found in possession of keys when he was arrested. It was later established they have been taken from a keysafe removed from a property in Mutford.

Just days before his arrest, Watkins had been involved in two burglaries at petrol stations on the A12 at Darsham on 4 May and Station Road in Framlingham on 5 May. In both incidents, he used a wooden pickaxe to smash glass doors to enter the petrol stations before stealing tobacco, food and drink worth £700 from Darsham and £5,960 worth from Framlingham.

Watkins had also been found guilty of possessing a phone inside HMP Norwich in January this year, while serving a previous sentence. A mobile phone was found hidden in a light fitting in his cell following a search by a dog handler.

Watkins, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment, disqualified from driving for four-and-a-half years and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £181.

Detective Constable Santiago Nield said: “This is a lengthy list of offences. Watkins has proved himself a danger to others and directly injured a police officer through his aggressive and dangerous driving.

“In the previous days Watkins had blatantly flouted the law, stealing thousands of pounds of goods from petrol stations.

“We are pleased that justice has been done in this case and Watkins is where he belongs – away from the public.