A fugitive burglar who crashed his getaway car during a police chase has been jailed after he was caught in a field, trying to blend in with a herd of alpacas. Christopher Dixon lost control of the stolen car on road outside Darts Farm at Clyst St George, east Devon, and was followed by police through marshland onto the shopping complex's animal corner. Dixon had stolen the Rover in a burglary in Cheltenham and driven it at full speed down the M5, only stopping to fill up with petrol and leaving without paying. He was spotted by police leaving the motorway at Exeter Services and heading towards Exmouth on the A 376. He tried to shake them off by doing a U-turn and doubled back on himself twice during the chase.
He forced one driver to veer off the road to avoid him as he overtook on a stretch of road which reduced from two to one lane and others to take evasive action as he drove down the middle of the highway.
Dixon, aged 38, of Cheltenham, admitted burglary, theft, driving while disqualified and dangerous driving and was jailed for two years and six months and banned from driving for three years by Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: "When you were followed by the police, you tried to avoid them. You did so at increasing speeds and increasing risk to other road users, a number of whom had to go onto the nearside verge to avoid collisions.
"It was undoubtedly and obviously dangerous driving and you eventually failed to take a corner and hit the kerb and stopped. You ran away across marshland but were arrested."
Mr Robert Morgan-Jones, prosecuting, said Dixon broke into a house in Cheltenham in the early hours of July 2 and a family with two children slept upstairs.
He stole a purse and the keys to a Rover 25 car and raided the fridge, which he left open. He then tried and failed to use a bank card before driving to Exeter via Weston-Super-Mare, where he bilked at a filling station.
Police were watching the M5 because Dixon was thought to be heading for Exmouth and he was seen at about 7.25am and followed onto the A 376.
Mr Morgan-Jones said he used a path between the carriageways to turn round to try to avoid police and almost forced another driver off the road. He eventually headed onto the road to Topsham where he drove in the middle of the carriageway, forcing other drivers to take evasive action.
Dixon lost control on the bend after Darts Farm and fled on foot over marshland into the Animal Corner, where police arrested him among a herd of alpacas which were kept as an attraction for young visitors.
Miss Ros Collins, defending, said Dixon's life has been blighted by drugs since he was abused while in care as a teenager and he had spent half his adult life in jail.
She said he was a victim of a revolving door syndrome and would continue to offend until he received help to overcome his anger problems and addictions.