A fuel thief who drove into a petrol station manager and left him with permanent serious injuries has been jailed for 11 years for grievous bodily harm with intent.

Lekshmanan Asokkumar, the manager of the Texaco station at West Kingsdown, near Sevenoaks, tried to stop Joshua Charnley, 19, when he went to drive off without paying on July 31.

Charnley drove at Mr Asokkumar, and he was carried on the bonnet of the car for half a mile down the A20 before falling off. Mr Asokkumar suffered a fractured skull and liver damage and was flown by air ambulance to Kings College Hospital, where he was in intensive care and had to have life-saving operations.

He is still being treated at a rehabilitation centre, having occupational and physiotherapy. He only comes home once a fortnight and medics believe he will be there for the next three months.

Miles Harvey, director of the Park Garage Group, which owns the site, said: “The directors of PGG can only applaud the police in the detection and conviction of this thief. It also highlights the problem that the forecourt industry has with this type of crime, when those people committing offences are prepared to cause such injury in order to escape apprehension. In this case we are very pleased to be given full support by the Kent Police.

“The learning message to all forecourt operators and staff  must be to consider their personal safety when dealing with these offences.”