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Four convicted over driving offences

Friday, October 25, 2019

Four men have been convicted after a collision in Rawtenstall led to officers discovering several videos featuring dangerous driving offences.

Police had been called around 12.15am on January 24 following reports of a collision involving a red Volkswagen Polo at a roundabout on Bocholt Way.

Officers attended with a witness alleging the vehicle had been racing another car and lights could be seen inside the Polo, similar to the torch on a mobile phone.

Lucas Blanchard, 19, of Roundhill Lane, Haslingden, Conor Fleming, 20, of Crabtree Buildings, Waterfoot and Oliver Barton, 19, of Pleasant View, Waterfoot, had been inside the Polo and found at the scene with minor injuries.

Following the reports the incident might have been filmed, officers found footage from the men’s mobile phones, showing a number of dangerous driving incidents from earlier in the evening on the Snapchat application.

This included:

  • A man recorded sat on the lip of an open car window with his upper body outside. This man was later identified as Joseph Clayton, 19, of Schofield Street, Waterfoot. The passenger recording the video was helping to drive the car at the time.

  • A second video showed three people in similar positions to before, sat on the lip of the car window while Blanchard drove at speed.

  • The vehicle then stopped, with Barton then climbing onto the bonnet of the Polo and Blanchard driving up to 50mph through the streets of Bacup, Stacksteads and Waterfoot.

There was no footage recorded of the collision.

Blanchard was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drink-driving, with Clayton arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving. Barton and Fleming were spoken with police.

All were summoned to appear at court.

Barton pleaded guilty at Burnley Magistrates Court earlier this year to getting onto a motor vehicle in motion on a road. He was fined £100, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Blanchard, Fleming and Clayton later appeared at Burnley Crown Court on October 18.

Lucas Blanchard, 19, of Roundhill Lane, Haslingden, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol. He was given a 12-month community order, 200 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for 18 months

Conor Fleming, 20, of Crabtree Buildings, Whitewell Bottom, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and using a handheld mobile phone while driving. He was given a 12-month community order, 150 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for 15 months.

James Clayton, 19, of Schofield Street, Waterfoot, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He was given a 12-month community order, 200 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for 15 months.

They were also handed a curfew until the New Year.

PC Oliver Tattersley, of Lancashire Police, said: “The behaviour of those involved was both shocking and disgraceful.

“Not content with putting themselves at risk of serious harm, they also put the lives of other motorists in danger, all for a few cheap laughs on a Snapchat story.

“It amazes me, given the time of year, freezing road conditions and hours of darkness nothing more serious took place.”


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