A DRIVER who tried to escape from police by reversing a stolen van at high speed in Kingsteignton has been jailed after he lost control and hit a pedestrian.

Colin Cuddy stole the van from outside a hotel as its driver was delivering fruit and vegetables but was found inside it the next day by police, who thought they had boxed him in. 

He escaped by reversing away and a brief chase ensued with the van in reverse being pursued by a police car heading in the right direction in Ley Lane, Kingsteignton. 

Cuddy tried to turn into Robers Road but instead veered backwards onto a pavement and hit a customer who was heading into the Central Convenience store, causing a knee injury. 

He was trying to get away because he was banned for driving, had no licence or insurance, and has already served one jail term for dangerous driving. 

He had also stolen a wallet and a wedding ring which the driver had left in the van, which belonged to Newton Abbot-based BDF Fresh Produce.

Cuddy, aged 35, formerly of Barn Park Road, Teignmouth, but now homeless, admitted vehicle taking which was aggravated by dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and was jailed for ten months by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him he hoped he would be able to break out of a cycle of offending and drug taking when he is released. He banned him from driving for three years.

Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said the Transit was stolen from outside a hotel in Torquay on November 4 last year and spotted by police in Ley Lane, Kingsteignton the next day.

He said: ‘A police car was positioned nose to nose to prevent him driving forward but the van reversed at speed down Ley Lane. The police activated their blue lights and pursued it.

‘The van reversed at speed for 100 metres and made a sharp turn going into Robers Road, mounting the pavement outside a convenience store where it collided with a pedestrian.

‘The police car blocked its exit and the van rammed the front of the police vehicle twice and came to a stop. Cuddy got over the passenger who was in the front seat but was arrested. He refused to leave his cell to be interviewed.’ 

Miss Felicity Payne, defending, said Cuddy had a poor criminal record but has succeeded in staying out of trouble when he has had a settled home and employment. 

He told a probation officer he committed this offence because he wanted to go back to prison.