A FORMER police officer has been jailed after leading a firearms team on a high-speed car chase through Scarborough while driving naked.
Eagle-eyed CCTV operators tipped off the authorities that something was amiss in the town centre in the early hours of April 25, and officers discovered ex-police constable Andrew Easterby driving a Peugeot 307, wearing only his shoes and socks, after an evening of passion.
When they approached and ordered Easterby, 30, to stop where he was, he reversed away before leading the officers on a car chase through the town centre streets.
The former Scarborough officer, who lost the only career he ever wanted in the police through an earlier drink-driving offence, lost his liberty when he appeared before York Crown Court for sentencing on a charge of dangerous driving.
Chris Smith, prosecuting, told how the camera operatives noticed what appeared to be a naked man driving and called in the police.
Two officers from the firearms tactical support team responded and came across Easterby behind the wheel of his then partner’s car – she was in the passenger seat.
They recognised him and he recognised them, driving off at speed, the wrong way down three one-way streets and switching off his headlights.
The pursuing officers could see tyre smoke and dust coming from the speeding car’s wheels as it travelled along Castle Road, Aberdeen Walk, Bedford Street and other roads in Scarborough town centre.
And after losing sight of the car for a short time, the officers eventually found the still naked Easterby hiding behind a wheelie-bin close to Trafalgar Street West.
Chris Moran, mitigating, said that Easterby recognised his impulsive actions had been “reckless and stupid”.
He added that after full-filling his boyhood dream of joining North Yorkshire Police and serving for eight years, Easterby had been taking his sergeant examinations when he was convicted of drink-driving in 2009 and had to resign from the force in “shame, embarrassment and disappointment”.
This had had a huge impact on his client’s life, Mr Moran said, adding that Easterby’s stupid actions in April had been committed out of embarrassment.
He asked the court not to immediately send Easterby, now of Leeds, to prison because of the “particularly punishing regime” he would be placed under because of his former job.
However, jailing Easterby for six months and banning him from driving for three years, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told him that he, of all people, should have been aware of the need to do as he was ordered by police.
Judge Ashurst said: “This is a difficult day, I know, for you. I have to take account not only of the strong personal mitigation in your case, but also the public interest in seeking to deter people from driving dangerously, particularly when they are pursued by police, where the sensible course is to stop.”
Adding that he was aware that Easterby had been to a secluded place for sex in the car with his partner, the judge said that what he then did by driving off at speed was “disgraceful”.
Easterby, who sobbed in the dock and hid his face in his hand as he was sentenced, was told that he must sit an extended driving test before being entitled to get his licence back.