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Fakenham man Charles Ragan drunk-drove to Morrisons at 3am and attempted to steal a bottle of cider before assaulting police officer

A 33-year-old drunk who drove to a supermarket at 3am, crashed into a bollard and assaulted a police officer has narrowly avoided going to prison.

Charles Ragan, 33, of Bells Lane in Fakenham, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to three offences.

He admitted to attempting to steal a bottle of cider from Morrisons in Fakenham, as well as assaulting an emergency worker and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

Ragan entered Morrisons at 3am when the store was closed in Fakenham. Picture: Google Maps
Ragan entered Morrisons at 3am when the store was closed in Fakenham. Picture: Google Maps

Crown prosecutor Lesla Small said that on October 29 at around 2.30pm, two members of staff working at Morrisons saw Ragan enter the store.

At this point, the supermarket was closed, and the worker informed Ragan about this and attempted to escort him from the premises.

During this time, Ragan had managed to take a bottle of cider before leaving the store.

The shop worker noticed a vehicle driving down the road away from the supermarket shortly afterwards, and assumed that due to the time of the day, it was Ragan.

The police were called to the scene, and during that time, Ragan drove back to Morrisons and crashed into a pillar.

Ragan was approached by the police officer, who asked him to get out of the vehicle.

The female police officer took the keys away from Ragan, and he attempted to grab them out of her hands, causing the officer to cut her finger.

Ragan acted “hostile” towards the officer, tensing up and throwing his hand towards her face.

Ragan also punched the police officer to the stomach and pushed her up against the car.

More officers were called to assist at the scene, and Ragan physically fought against them when being restrained.

Eventually, he was placed in handcuffs and a roadside breath test was conducted, returning a reading of 160mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit to drive is 35mcg.

However, when taken back to Lynn’s Police Investigation Centre, Ragan refused to carry out an evidential test, so was charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

The police officer provided a statement saying it was “the worst experience” of being assaulted so far in her career.

An all-options report was carried out by the probation service on Ragan prior to Thursday, meaning he was at risk of being sent to custody.

Probation officer Lewis Spicer reported back to the magistrates and said that Ragan drank a litre of whiskey before driving.

He recommended that a community order should be imposed rather than a prison sentence.

Ragan was represented by solicitor Matt Diss, who said that since a relationship breakdown, Ragan has been drinking frequently.

“He has bouts of depression and anxiety,” said Mr Diss.

The solicitor added: “Clearly it was an unpleasant incident. Grabbing the keys was a deliberate act, but he didn’t mean to cause injury to the officer.”

Mr Diss explained that Ragan was experiencing a lot of “barriers” in his life due to alcohol – one of them being that he cannot work in his family’s business.

“He lives in the shadows of his brothers and father and he suffers with his mental health,” Mr Diss added.

Magistrates said that if Ragan complied with a breath test in police custody, he would have been sent to prison due to the high reading.

The lead magistrate said: “Consider yourself very lucky you didn’t blow it at the police station, because things would have been very different.”

Ragan was handed an 18-month community order, which will include a 12-month alcohol treatment requirement to help with his drinking.

He was also handed 200 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from driving for 24 months.

He will also pay a £114 victim surcharge.

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