A dopey thrill seeker who stole a marked police patrol car from an unlocked station and sped off at 95mph with the ‘blues and twos’ blaring has walked free from court.
Timothy Clapham, 43, walked into the open station and brazenly put on the radio before he pinched a set of keys to a Ford Mondeo parked outside.
He donned a policeman’s helmet, started the car, turned on the sirens and blue flashing lights then drove off from Stratford Police Station on January 28 ”just for a little kick”.
A second patrol car eventually pulled cannabis user Clapham over after an officer realised he was not a real policeman because he had ”long messy hair” underneath his helmet.
Bi-polar Clapham was issued with a community order and placed under supervision for two years after he admitted burglary ”having entered Stratford police station as a trespasser”.
He was also banned from driving for two years after he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and to driving without a licence or insurance at Coventry Crown Court.
Judge Phillip Gregory, in sentencing Clapham, said: ”Let me get this straight.
”He visited an unattended police station, listened to the radio, took some police car keys and drove out wearing a police helmet while operating blue flashing lights.
”You could not make it up.”
Turning to face Clapham, Judge Gregory told him: ”I accept that you were seriously ill when you committed these offences and you did not have a great deal of insight into what you were doing.
”But you got into that state because you were not taking your medication and because you were still smoking cannabis and that was your choice.
”If you make that choice again you might find yourself in a much more serious situation.
”You are a disqualified driver from now on. If you want to go anywhere you have to use a bus or a taxi.”
The court heard Clapham was initially arrested after police found him at a farm in south Warwickshire on January 27 in a car with only a provisional licence.
He was taken to Stratford police station where he was questioned by police and released in the early hours of the morning.
But Clapham returned to the station at about 5.30am on January 28 and walked in through a side door and took a set of car keys.
After going on the two mile chase Clapham reaching speeds of 95mph in a 50mph zone before returning the patrol car to the station where he was arrested.
When quizzed by officers, Clapham, who suffers from bipolar disorder, told them: ”The temptation was too much. Just for a little kick I thought I will take it for a drive.”
John Butterfield, prosecuting, said: ”He went to Stratford police station and found the front door was locked and secure.
”He went to see the side of the building and found a door that required a code to enter but it was less then secure.
”He opened the door and went in. There was literally no-one inside when he was there. He turned on the radio and listened to that for a while.
”He took one set of keys outside and the police car sprung into life.
”He found the car, had a police helmet in it – he put it on his head and drove out of the police station.
”At exactly the same time he was doing this a police car returned to the station.
”They became suspicious due the nature of his driving. It was dark and there were no headlights on the car.
” And they, saw even though he had on a police hat, it was over hair that they described as long and messy, that they would not expect to see on a serving office.
”The officers correctly concluded that that car was being stolen.
”An Audi had to take evasive action to avoid a collision with the defendant.”
Clapham, of Shipston-on-Stour, Warks., was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following his arrest and detained at St Michael’s hospital in Warwick.
Jamie Strong, defending, said: ”I think this was a little bit of inappropriate policing.
”The door to the station was open not just unlocked. Perhaps a lift back to Shipston might of helped.”
Clapham refused to comment outside court.