Car thief found sleeping in stolen vehicle in Swanley jailed

A burglar who was caught by police napping at the wheel of a car he had just stolen has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Freddie Stephens and an accomplice was found asleep in the front seat of a stolen VW Passat in the Swanley area just hours after it had gone missing from a home in New Ash Green.

After being woken up, the 20-year-old tried to flee the scene, assaulted a police officer, and was then arrested.

Detective Constable Lucy Basson, of West Kent CID, called Stephens a “repeat and prolific offender.”

“He was on licence at the time of this latest offence and clearly appears incapable of changing his ways.

“Had he not been caught, I have no doubt he would have carried out further offences, causing distress to further victims.”

Kent Police were initially called to suspicious activity in the Swanley area during the morning of October 31, 2019.

Concerns had been raised over two men seen sleeping in a parked car in Eynsford Road.

A lone officer attended to “check on the welfare of the car’s snoozing occupants, and knocked on the window and opened a door.

Stephens and his accomplice then bolted, but a struggle ensued which resulted in Stephens assaulting the officer.

The 20-year-old was then arrested, but the accomplice managed to escape and remains outstanding.

A lock knife was found in Stephens’ possession, and enquiries into the car’s genuine owner established that it had been the victim of an overnight burglary.

Stephens, of no fixed address, was later charged with burglary, assault by beating of an emergency worker and with possessing a knife in a public place.

Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court he pleaded guilty and on Friday 14 August 2020 was sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment.

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