EAGLE-EYED villagers have been praised for their help putting a drug-driver behind bars.
Richard Wellgreen was high on drugs when he crashed his black Peugeot 307 into a bollard on Stubbington Green on July 25 last year.
People watched in shock as the hapless 34-year-old from Gosport – who has today started a 14-month prison sentence – tried in vain to get his car moving again.
But instead of looking on and doing nothing villagers called police, keeping officers one step ahead of the father-of-six.
As police sirens sounded in the distance, Wellgreen dashed off into the toilet of the Red Lion pub. But onlookers pointed officers in the right direction and he was arrested minutes later.
Crofton ward county councillor Chris Wood was delighted with the verdict.
He said: ‘This is absolutely fantastic news and I can’t thank the residents of Stubbington enough for their actions.
‘It’s because of them and the great work by police that this man is now behind bars.’
He added: ‘This sends a clear message: don’t take drugs and drive – you won’t get away with it,’
Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Wellgreen, of St Vincent Road, had been disqualified from driving and was in the middle of a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for vehicle offences, when he crashed.
When he was arrested, officers found two small wraps of heroin and cocaine. Toxicology tests also revealed he was under the influence of cocaine when he crashed, prosecutor Victoria Hill said.
Ms Hill added despite CCTV evidence and eye witness testimony, Wellgreen ‘swore to police on his six children’ he had not been driving and that one of his friends had been behind the wheel.
But Ms Hill said this was a lie, adding: ‘The defendant was seen by members of the public sat in the driver’s seat trying to move the vehicle off the bollard by changing gears and reversing.
‘When he heard the sirens he made off from the vehicle – he was seen by these members of the public and tracked by CCTV to the Red Lion public house.’
Defending, Daniel Reilly said Wellgreen had been suffering from mental health issues at the time and has since worked to turn his life around.
Wellgreen was convicted of driving while disqualified, driving while uninsured, two counts of possession of a class A drug and driving while unfit through drugs. He was jailed for 14 months, half of which he will serve in custody before being released on licence.