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Benjamin Appleton was more than double the legal limit when he was first stopped in Rochester and then months later refused to provide a sample after colliding with two cars in Gillingham



Appleton was initially arrested on 13 July 2020, having been at the wheel of a Citroen Picasso. The vehicle had failed to stop for police in the Rochester area, despite patrols illuminating lights and sirens. It was seen swerving dangerously and followed through the Medway towns. The pursuit ended after a stinger device was put in place in Town Road, Cliffe Woods, Rochester which punctured the tyres on the Citroen.


The 33-year-old, of Chelmar Road, Chatham was arrested and tests showed he had 73 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. Further enquiries revealed he did not hold a valid driving licence or have insurance.


Appleton was released pending further investigation. However, at around 9.50pm on Monday 9 November, he was back behind the wheel of Peugeot which was seen speeding and swerving in Gillingham. It collided with two cars in Railway Street, where Appleton attempted to drive from the scene. He was challenged by an off-duty police officer, from another force, and fled on foot carrying a bottle of alcohol. Appleton was pursued by the off-duty officer and restrained in Ingram Road. He was arrested and taken into custody, where this time he refused to provide a breath test.


Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court, Appleton pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, failing to provide a specimen for analysis and failing to stop for police when requested to do so. He also admitted charges of dangerous driving, careless driving, driving whilst disqualified, common assault and driving without a licence or insurance. On Friday 25 June 2021, Appleton was sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment. He was also disqualified from driving for three and a half years and will have to take an extended test.


Investigating officer, PC Sophie Lawrie, said: ‘Appleton’s reckless and selfish behaviour could easily have had fatal consequences. His repeated offending demonstrates he has little concern for other road users, or regard for public safety, and his intoxicated state turned vehicles he was driving into lethal and deadly weapons. I’m pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of these offences with a custodial sentence, and which will hopefully act as a reminder to motorists that there is simply never an excuse to drink and drive.’