POLICE pursued a man who fled Carmarthen at 100mph in a stolen van after crashing into a shop and stealing jewellery worth £2,500.
Dyfed-Powys Police were called to the Pandora store in Lammas Street at just before 6am on May 4, where a Ford Transit had been used to reverse through the security shutters.
Alexander Griffiths was discovered to have caused £40,000 of damage to the front of the shop, and made off with stock worth £2,500.
The 38-year-old already had 126 offences on his record and had only been out of prison for a number of months following another high-speed police pursuit.
Acting Detective Inspector Paula Jones-Clarke said: “When officers arrived at Lammas Street, they found the front of the store had been rammed by the van, which had left the scene.
“Fortunately, the passer-by who had alerted us to the incident had taken the vehicle’s registration plate number and we were able to carry out incredibly fast-paced enquiries to trace it.
“Officers pursued Griffiths – who hit speeds of up to 100mph – along the A48 dual carriageway and the M4 towards Swansea, maintaining excellent communications with their colleagues in the force control room so they were kept up to date with the incident as it unfolded.
“After speeding along the motorway hard shoulder and driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic, the defendant finally abandoned the vehicle and ran off. He was chased on foot and arrested.”
Despite making no comment during police interviews, Griffiths, of Walter Road in Swansea, admitted charges of aggravated vehicle taking, burglary, dangerous driving and driving with no insurance or licence when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing.
Judge Geraint Walters described the defendant as someone who had ‘committed himself to a lifetime of offending’, and the burglary itself as ‘carefully planned’ and ‘audacious’.
Griffiths was sentenced to four years in prison, disqualified from driving for six years, and must complete an extended driving test before he can regain his licence.
T/DI Jones-Clarke said: “I would like to thank all officers involved in this investigation – from the roads policing team who showed controlled and persistent pursuit skills in following Griffiths’ vehicle, to the officers who quickly put together the strong file of evidence leading to the his guilty pleas.
“Griffiths showed no regard for the safety of the public in mounting the kerb at speed to gain access to the shop, and in driving so recklessly along a busy dual carriageway and motorway.
“The fact that he was on licence for a previous incident which also resulted in a police pursuit further emphasises the danger he poses to other road users.”