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Beck Row drug-driver jailed after leading police on eight-mile pursuit between Mildenhall and Lakenheath

A drug-driver has been jailed after she led police on an eight-mile pursuit between Mildenhall and Lakenheath, at one point driving on the wrong side of the road toward oncoming traffic.

Claire Waterman, of Aspal Hall Road, Beck Row, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court and was sentenced to 10 months in prison for the incident last summer.

She was also disqualified from driving for four years, with a five-month extension, and will be required to take an extended re-test.

Waterman had also pleaded guilty to five charges before magistrates on December 24 which included: Dangerous driving, driving with cocaine in system, possession of cocaine, driving without insurance and driving with an invalid licence.

The incident at around 8.25pm on July 25 began when officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT), on patrol in Mildenhall, spotted a Volkswagen Golf in front of them driving at 50mph in a 30mph zone.

A check of the car showed it did not have a current MOT or an insurance policy and so the officers illuminated their blue lights in Brandon Road to request the driver to stop.

Claire Waterman has been jailed after drug and dangerous driving last summer. Picture: Suffolk Police. (48039372)
Claire Waterman has been jailed after drug and dangerous driving last summer. Picture: Suffolk Police. (48039372)

The Golf then turned into Hornbeam Road where it came to a stop.

One of the police officers approached the Golf which then sped off.

An 11-minute pursuit followed, initially along the A1101 into Holywell Row and then Undley Road, ending in Broom Road in Lakenheath, a dead-end road.

The Golf, with Waterman inside, came to a stop after going up the verge and into a hedge.

Officers searched Waterman's purse and found a bag of white powder inside which was later found to be cocaine.

During the pursuit, Waterman drove on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic, went the wrong way around a roundabout, weaved between other vehicles and straddled the middle of the road to stop the police car getting alongside.

Throughout the chase, Waterman also struck a kerb, caused a dog walker to get up onto a grass verge and at one point in Undley Road, she hit a bump in the road so hard that all four wheels of the Golf left the road.

PC George Laflin, one of the RAPT officers in the pursuing vehicle, said: "Claire Waterman’s actions were extremely reckless and showed complete disregard for the safety of other road users and pedestrians and it was fortunate that no one was harmed during the incident.

"Not only was she speeding and performing dangerous manoeuvres, she was driving under the influence of drugs which meant her ability to control the vehicle was greatly diminished.

"I am very pleased with the sentence handed down by the court, which sends out a strong message to people who would break the law in this way that it will not be tolerated.

"I suspect that Waterman made-off from us as she knew she was over the drug-drive limit, but all she achieved in the process was to commit a more serious offence and put peoples’ lives at greater risk.

"We will continue to remove reckless drivers from our roads and make them safe places for all users.”

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