Plucky policeman chases van on foot across boggy Ringmer field

Behind bars ... Joshua Field
Behind bars ... Joshua Field

A disqualified driver was detained by a plucky police officer as he attempted to escape through a boggy field in Ringmer.

PC Gareth Stamp, assisted by driver PC Mat Fry, chased the silver Vauxhall Combo on foot as it struggled to gain traction on the wet and muddy terrain.

He struck the driver’s window with his baton but it failed to smash. However, he then managed to open the driver’s door – while the vehicle was still moving – and drag the suspect onto the ground. In doing so, he sustained minor injuries to his upper body.

The driver was identified as Joshua Field, 29, a builder, of South Street, East Hoathly. He was arrested and charged with driving while disqualified, driving with no insurance and failing to stop for police.

Field pleaded guilty to all three offences at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (March 21) and was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment. He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months from the conclusion of his current ban, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Police became aware of Field when the vehicle he was driving pulled across their path at speed on the A2029 West Street, Lewes, at about 11.40pm on Saturday, March 2.

The officers, from the Lewes Neighbourhood Response Team, pursued the van but it failed to stop and continued through to Ringmer.

After turning into New Road, the van then went through a hedgerow parallel to Moor Lane, and into a field, where it struggled to gain any speed.

At this point PC Stamp exited the police car, and made his way through a bush and over a wire fence, where he managed to stop and detain the driver in his van.

Sergeant Tom Sawyer said: “This is an excellent example of how police officers can be called into action without prior warning, and required to think on their feet as they respond to an ongoing incident.

“Using their local knowledge, PCs Gareth Stamp and Mat Fry purposely slowed prior to a sharp bend in Ringmer, which the defendant failed to manoeuvre and subsequently went through a hedgerow.

“In treacherous conditions, they managed to safely detain and arrest a convicted criminal who now faces weeks behind bars.”

If you witness dangerous or anti-social driving, you can report it via Operation Crackdown or in an emergency, dial 999.