A CLEANER stole an employee’s car before smashing it into two other vehicles and injuring their “terrified” drivers in a serious crash.

Paul Townsend pinched the keys of a Seat from a locker room at Zorba Foods at Ebbw Vale’s Rassau Industrial Estate where he worked.

A CCTV camera at the factory captured the theft which took place on August 4, 2020.

Shortly after driving off in the Seat, Townsend collided with a Ford Fiesta and Suzuki on Brynmawr’s King Street, causing nearly £10,000 of damage.


Christopher Evans, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court: “The defendant was described as swerving all over the road and driving on the wrong side of the carriageway.

“He was said to be spaced out and ‘out of it’.”

The defendant wrote off the Seat and the Suzuki and the repair bill for the Fiesta was £3,500.

Mr Evans said one of the drivers was taken to hospital and he described the two female victims as being left “terrified” by “foolish driver” Townsend.

He was arrested on suspicion of drug driving but he was not convicted of that charge.

The defendant, 32, of Railway Street, Llanhilleth, Abertillery, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, theft of car keys, driving without insurance and a licence.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing a £200 mobile phone from a woman in a separate offence last July.

Townsend, the court was told, had 14 previous convictions for 19 offences which included burglary and fraud.

Darren Bishop, representing the defendant, said: “There is little by way of mitigation other than his guilty pleas.”

He added that Townsend’s partner was three months pregnant and how his client’s grandmother had recently passed away and he would be now unable to attend her funeral.

Judge David Wynn Morgan jailed the defendant for 14 months and banned him from driving for three years.

Townsend was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge after his release from prison.