A man who knocked a 12-year-old girl off her bike as he sped off to avoid paying £17.90 for fuel has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Jacob O’Dell, 24, filled his blue Ford Fiesta up at a petrol station in Coldhams Lane, Cambridge, on 28 September but drove off without making any attempt to pay.

As he sped off back onto Coldhams Lane he struck the girl, who was crossing the road, fracturing her pelvis and narrowly missing her 11-year-old friend.

Despite knocking the girl off her bike and onto the ground, O’Dell continued driving while other motorists rushed to help her and call paramedics.

After identifying O’Dell as the driver, officers began searching nearby villages for him and the vehicle.

He was found in the Fiesta parked at Cottenham Village College just after 6pm that evening. He spotted officers and rammed their car in an attempt to escape, but was arrested before he could get out of the vehicle.

O’Dell, of Howard Road, Cambridge, was also handed a five-year driving ban, to begin when he is released from prison, after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, dangerous driving, criminal damage and making off without payment.

Detective constable Craig McPherson said: “O’Dell showed absolutely no concern for the 12-year-old girl when he knocked her off her bike at speed, which left her with serious injuries.

“Not only that, but when he was later found he again tried to get away, ramming a police car with no consideration for the wellbeing of those inside.”