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30 January 2017, 12:56
An uninsured driver who hit and seriously injured a cyclist - while driving recklessly around Bournemouth and Poole - has been jailed for five years.
The victim's still recovering and has life-changing injuries after the crash on Poole Road last October.
19-year-old Benjamin George - from Cornish Gardens in Bournemouth - admitted causing injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, driving without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and theft of fuel following the incident on Thursday 27 October 2016.
He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance for an incident on Friday 14 October 2016.
George was sentenced at the same court today, Monday 30 January 2017, to four years at a Young Offender Institution for the 27 October offences and one year for the 14 October offences to run consecutively.
He was also banned from driving for six years, suspended for two and a half years, and will have to take an extended test before he can have his licence back.
The court heard that at 11.50pm on Wednesday 26 October 2016, a member of the public contacted Dorset Police to report the erratic driving of a gold-coloured Vauxhall Tigra travelling along Richmond Park Road toward Charminster.
A number of other witnesses reported the Tigra driving dangerously around Bournemouth.
Dorset Police said:
'At 2.18am on Thursday 27 October 2016 officers saw the Tigra travelling along Charminster Road, heading toward Holdenhurst Road and Springbourne. Officers requested for the vehicle to stop and followed the vehicle. The Tigra was seen to drive on the wrong side of the road and then head the wrong way down the A338 Wessex Way dual carriageway. The police follow was aborted due to the level of risk posed by the driving of the Tigra, the court heard.
'The Tigra was captured on Bournemouth Borough Council CCTV and the vehicle was tracked as it drove through the town.
'At 4.47am, a CCTV operator reported to police that the Tigra had struck a cyclist at the junction of Poole Road and Queens Road in Bournemouth. The driver travelled at speed through a red light, before hitting the cyclist and fleeing scene.
'The Tigra was found abandoned in Durley Road a short time later.
'The cyclist - a 34-year-old man from Bournemouth - suffered serious injuries and was taken to Poole Hospital for treatment. He sustained significant life-changing injuries and is recovering at home.'
Following a thorough investigation, officers identified George as the driver and he was arrested on Sunday 30 October 2016.
Police Sergeant Nikki Burt, of Dorset Police's traffic unit, said:
"George's irresponsible, reckless and extremely dangerous actions that night endangered the lives of the public. It is miraculous that the victim is making a recovery and that nobody else was seriously injured or killed.
"I am pleased with the sentence handed down by the courts. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated on our roads.
"I would like to praise the actions of the CCTV operators during the incident. They were able to track George across town and this meant officers could reach the injured cyclist very quickly and provide medical attention.
"This was a complex investigation and I would like to thank all the officers and staff who assisted in bringing George to justice."