Car wash worker took taxi without permission

Court
Court

A car wash worker, who took a taxi, which had been left in for a valet, and drove it round a Coleraine estate at 3am before fleeing the vehicle and running away from police across a field, has been given a three months jail term.

Kurtis Irwin (19), whose address was given as Union Street in Coleraine, previously pleaded guilty to taking a Skoda Superb without authority from the ‘Foamula 1’ car wash near his home.

In connection with the incident on September 16 last year, he also admitted using the car without insurance at Ballylagan Road near Coleraine and being unlicensed.

He further pleaded guilty to the technical burglary of F1 Carwash and obstructing a police officer in the execution of her duty.

Earlier this year he had been ordered to do 40 hours of Community Service but was back before the court on Monday and admitted not completing the unpaid work.

He only did nine of the 40 hours.

Defence solicitor Sam Barr told Monday’s court his client had gone into the office at the car wash after hours and took the car; and the first thing Irwin said to police when caught was: “I’m sorry for everything.”

A previous court heard police received a report at 3am last November about a taxi being driven around Ballysally and when police arrived they saw its movements were erratic and it was braking sharply.

Officers followed and at the entrance to a field at Ballylagan Road police blocked the vehicle in, and the driver alighted and ran across the field.

The prosecutor said Irwin made full admissions and told officers he had worked at the car wash for six months and was aware the taxi had been left in for a valet and admitted taking the keys and and driving it.

Mr Barr told the earlier court there could have been “catastrophic consequences” had Irwin hit another vehicle.

At Monday’s Court, District Judge Peter King revoked the Community Service and replaced it with a three months jail term.