A DRUNKEN Huthwaite man who stole a bus from a Stagecoach depot to pick up friends at Mansfield Bus Station, before later abandoning the vehicle, has been jailed for four months.
Police found the single-decker bus, driven by 29-year-old Scott Paul William Dowdall, abandoned in the middle of Sutton Road with its alarm going off and hazards flashing at around 4.45am on 22nd March.
Officers then followed a trail of footsteps left in the fresh snow, running from the vehicle to an address in New Hucknall Way around half a mile away, where Dowdall was found unconscious on a sofa.
Officers described Dowdall, of Pennine Close, Huthwaite, as smelling strongly of alcohol and slurring his words when he was arrested, Prosecutor David Miles told Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
He told the court that CCTV footage of the Stagecoach Depot, in Sutton Road, showed Dowdall breaking into the vehicle and driving it away at about 3.15am.
CCTV footage from Mansfield Bus Station later showed the vehicle picking up four people who ‘appeared to then go to the back of the bus and urinate on the seats’, Mr Miles told the court.
“When officers arrived at the bus it was abandoned in the middle of the road with its alarm going off,” he said.
“After they had dealt with the alarm they noticed a set of fresh boot prints in the snow, leading from the vehicle towards some houses.
“They followed the trail to a door of a nearby property and discovered a pair of wet boots outside with a grip that matched the prints.
“Inside they discovered the defendant asleep on the sofa and when asked what he has been doing, he said that he couldn’t remember.”
Dowdall was then taken to Mansfield Police Station where he refused a breath test because officers would not ‘let him have a fag’.
He admitted taking a motor vehicle without the owners consent, failing to provide a specimen and driving while disqualified, at Wednesday’s hearing.
Dowdall’s passengers were not in court and it is not known at what point they left the vehicle.
Following the case, Pc Emma Ashton of Nottinghamshire Police said: “Taking the bus home took on a whole new meaning for this individual. Instead of walking or getting a taxi home after his night out he put his own life, and that of others on the road, in danger, made off with a vehicle and then left it blocking the road.
“It had been heavily snowing that evening and when attending officers noticed there were footprints leading from the bus to an address in New Hucknall Waye.
“In a great piece of old-fashioned detective work they followed them, found Dowdall there and were able to make an arrest.
“Although no one was injured this incident could have had a very different outcome.”