A council worker stole his friend’s BMW on Christmas Eve before crashing it into a fence and fleeing the crash scene, a court heard.
Robert Lott, 33, appeared at Swindon Magistrates’ Court last week charged with aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and driving without insurance. He pleaded guilty to all three offences.
Police were called to reports a vehicle had left the road and crashed on the A350, on the roundabout with Semington Road, at around 9.35pm on 24 December 2019. Officers attended to find a black BMW – which was found to be a hire car – with significant front-end damage and its airbags deployed.
The hirer of the car had called police to report the BMW stolen, crown prosecutor Keith Ballinger told the court. Adding that officers then went to meet the hirer and suspected he was the driver so they arrested him.
Back at the scene of the collision, 40 minutes after the 999 calls, the defendant, of Queensway, Melksham, had returned. He disclosed to attending officers that he had been driving and was subsequently arrested.
When questioned on the matter, Lott said he had taken the car to drive to the garage for cigarettes but lost control of the BMW on the roundabout. He accepted he was driving and accepted he did not remain at the scene. He said, following the crash, he’d returned to the pub.
Defending, advocate Gordon Hotson told the court that Lott was remorseful and couldn’t believe how stupid he had been.
The defendant’s friend had hired the BMW, left the keys on the pub table and Lott wanted to run an errand to the shop and back. He thought nobody would know, he said. Adding that Lott has “lived to regret that decision”.
He said his client – a dad-of-one – didn’t know what to do, so locked the car and went back to the pub. There, he calmed himself down before going back to admit what he did.
The court heard how Lott works as a groundsman for Melksham Town Council and is likely to lose his job as a result of this incident. He is expected to drive as part of the role.
Sentencing him to a 12-month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work, magistrates said they saw the incident as a “single act of stupidity”. He was also disqualifed from driving for 12 months.