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24 May 2013, 16:31
A man has been jailed after crashing his car into the Job Centre in Norwich.
A 35-year-old man who deliberately crashed his car into the Norwich JobCentre narrowly missing workers has been jailed.
Christopher Leeds, of Fitzgerald Road, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and criminal damage – recklessly endangering life – following the incident on 25 March.
The drama unfolded at about 9.40am when police were called to Kiln House in Pottergate following reports a car had crashed into the front of a building.
Officers arrived on scene to find a gold Rover 75 had crashed through the automatic glass front doors of the JobCentre.
The building was evacuated as a precaution and Leeds was arrested at the scene and taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
During police interview Leeds told officers he had been experiencing problems with the JobCentre and his benefits, admitting he had become "angry and frustrated".
Leeds had visited the JobCentre a few days earlier on Friday 22 March to complain about not being paid benefits. Staff were unable to help and told Leeds to return on Monday when someone could discuss his complaint. As he left the building, Leeds threatened to drive his car through the doors if he didn't get his money.
Leeds returned on the Monday, parking his Rover in the car park opposite the JobCentre before entering the building to progress with his complaint.
After speaking with a manager Leeds attempted to telephone his complaint, only to answer security questions incorrectly, causing him to slam the phone down.
He left the building and returned to his Rover before driving out of the car park and straight into the automatic doors, narrowly missing passersby and eventually crashing into the reception area. Security on scene detained Leeds until police arrived.
Investigating officer Det Con Jonathan Church said: "Leeds failed to show any regret for his actions and said in interview he would do it all again. This was a serious incident and its fortunate no-one was injured."
Leeds was jailed for 15 months and Norwich Policing Commander, Superintendent Dave Marshall, welcomed the sentence. He said: "His actions put members of the public and workers at risk and I hope this sentence acts as a warning to other people considering taking matters into their own hands."