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Drink driver jailed after ‘diabolical’ rush hour chase through Perth

Ben Paton stole a Renault Captur from a city garage and drove at an employee when he tried to block his exit.

Ben Paton
Ben Paton appeared at Perth Sheriff Court. Image: Facebook

A drunken car thief who led police on an “diabolical” rush hour chase through Perth city centre has been jailed.

Ben Paton stole a black Renault Captur from a city garage and drove at an employee when he tried to block his exit.

The twice-banned driver then sped the wrong way down streets and around roundabouts, forcing motorists to swerve out of his way.

Paton mounted and crossed pavements as he attempted to evade pursuing police.

But the Grand Theft Auto-style chase was brought to a dramatic end when officers manoeuvred a patrol car into his path.

The aftermath of the police chase on May 13 2024. Image: Supplied

Paton, 26, appeared at Perth Sheriff Court last week and admitted dangerous driving on May 15 this year.

He further pled guilty to stealing the car and driving it while banned, without insurance and while over the drink-drive limit (33mics/ 22).

The court also heard he was under the influence of cocaine and cannabis.

Paton, of Restenneth Drive, Forfar, was told jail was “inevitable.”

Accelerated off in stolen car

The court heard how staff at Hamdani Motors were preparing to shut up shop at 5.20pm.

Paton walked onto the site and crept into a parked Renault.

The keys were inside the car, the court was told.

Hamdani Motors at Tulloch Works
Paton stole the car from Hamdani Motors at Tulloch Works Industrial Estate, Perth.

Employee Ronald McEwan saw Paton drive off towards a dead end, before making a u-turn.

Mr McEwan tried to stop him leaving the site by standing on the road but Paton accelerated forwards, forcing him to jump out of the way.

The car drove down Tulloch Road and was lost to sight.

Rush hour pursuit

Three police units were deployed to search for the stolen vehicle.

At around 5.30pm, one officer spotted the car heading in his direction at traffic lights on Crieff Road.

He could see Paton behind the wheel with an unknown male in the passenger seat.

The constable turned his vehicle and began following.

Shortly afterwards, the Renault came to a stop and the passenger got out.

Ben Paton appeared at Perth Sheriff Court and admitted dangerous driving.

He was seen pointing at the stolen car while making eye contact with the police behind.

Paton then sped away and went anticlockwise around a mini-roundabout forcing motorists to take evasive action.

He hit a central island before driving onto Dunkeld Road and veering into the wrong lane.

Paton charged through a red light as he was pursued by officers at speeds of between 30 and 50mph.

Police stopped a car on Barossa Place in Perth on Monday.
The car came to a halt on Barossa Place in Perth. Image: Supplied

Two other police officers joined the pursuit as Paton mounted a pavement and drove along it diagonally, before vanishing.

Moments later, police saw him again on Barossa Street.

Pursuing officers took a shortcut down Stormont Street in a bid to head him off.

Paton was seen mounting and driving along a pavement, narrowly missing a BMW.

An officer swung his patrol car into Paton’s path to stop it from going further, successfully bringing the chase to a halt.

The court heard Paton tested positive for cannabis and cocaine and was later found to be one-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit.

‘Diabolical is an understatement’

Solicitor Pauline Cullerton, defending, said: “Given the time of day, the town would have been busy with other cars and road users.

“It was really a diabolical piece of driving.”

She said: “He accepts that he was under the influence of alcohol and illicit substances.

“He recognise is that his offending is linked to alcohol and substance misuse.”

Sheriff William Gilchrist told Paton: “Diabolical is an understatement.

“This type of driving was extremely dangerous.

“This offence involved dangerous driving in a car that was stolen and while you were under the influence of alcohol.”

He added: “You have three analogous convictions for drink and drug driving.

“In all the circumstances, a custodial sentence is inevitable.”

Paton was jailed for 10 months and banned from driving for six years.

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