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8:00am Wednesday 31st July 2013 in News
A MAN spent weeks posing as a bus driver before stealing a bus and driving it for two miles.
Joshua Cooper, 20, of Mersea Road, in Colchester, was jailed for six months after disguising himself as a First Bus driver and taking a Bluebird bus from Chelmsford bus station and driving it to a depot in Westway, just outside the city centre.
When he arrived at the depot on May 14 wearing a uniform, which he had obtained from a friend who works at the company, he was questioned and was found not to be a member of staff.
Jailing Cooper, who was arrested after failing to turn up at an earlier sentencing hearing, Roger Prince, chairman of the bench, said: “These offences, taking a vehicle, a bus as it was - without consent was a great danger to the public.
“It was a large vehicle. People could have been badly hurt.
“You planned the job over a number of weeks and dressed as an employee of the company and breached a community order."
Cooper appeared for sentencing in Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
He had earlier admitted three charges of taking a vehicle without consent, driving without insurance and driving with no licence.
Cooper was senteced to four months in jail for taking the bus, plus two months consecutive for a previous offence of taking a Torano car.
He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
No separate penalty was imposed for driving uninsured and without a licence.
Denise Holland, prosecutuing, told the court Cooper was seen to drive into the Westway depot - without passengers - and when questioned, it became clear he was not an employee.
Miss Holland added: “Police were called and interviewed, he told them he drove the bus at 11.30pm for about two to three miles - the road was quiet - and admitted it was stupid thing to have done. He said it was the culmination of a downward spiral."
Laura Glover, mitigating, said: “He wants to apologise. There were no passengers on the bus and he returned the bus to a depot.”
A First Bus spokesman said an internal investigation has been launched to find out how Cooper got into the site.
He added: "The safety and security of our staff and customers is our number one priority.
“I can assure our customers that the vehicle Mr Cooper stole was not a PCV vehicle and therefore no passengers were on board.”
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