Apprentice mechanic jailed for string of motoring offences after being caught driving without licence

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A BANNED driver spotted behind the wheel by police while subject to a suspended sentence for a string of motoring offences has been locked up for eight months.

Robert Laidler, of Franklin Court, Washington, was pulled over by officers while travelling along Fowler Street, South Shields, and admitted he didn’t have a driving licence or insurance.

The 23-year-old had bought the Nissan Micra vehicle online for £160 – while already disqualified from driving.

The apprentice car mechanic was given a 36-week jail sentence – suspended for two years – and banned from the road for 18 months at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court in November, after admitting going on a crime spree in June and July, all relating to a Ford Mondeo vehicle belonging to a friend of his father.

His 15 offences included stealing registration plates, putting them on the car to disguise its identity, three counts of making off without payment, three of taking a vehicle without consent 
and three of having no insurance.

Laidler, of Franklin Court, Washington, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard he was also serving a second suspended sentence – a 24-week term suspended for two years last July – at the time of the fresh offences. Magistrates activated 20 weeks of his suspended sentence and jailed him for a further 12 weeks for the new offences, a total prison term of 32 weeks.

Neil Fodor, prosecuting, said: “Laidler was disqualified from driving for 18 months in November. He was about a third of the way through the ban at the time of these offences.

“An Friday April 17, police had cause to stop the vehicle and speak to Laidler, asking him if he had a licence or insurance. He admitted he had neither.

“He confirmed his disqualification and said he had bought the car for £160 from someone on Gumtree.”

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “He works six days a week as an apprentice mechancic, which he does not get paid for.

“His mother has cancer and he cares for her and she provides accomodation for him. He is aware of what the potential outcome can be. He is prepared for that.

“There is significant grounds to suspend the sentence as he cares for his mother.”

As well as a 32-week jail term, Laidler was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a criminal court charge of £150 and a victim surcharge of £80.