Banned driver who claimed he was able to get on roads again is sentenced to 12 month community order

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A garden centre boss found himself in the doghouse with police when he drove his pooch for a walk in South Tyneside while disqualified from motoring.

Kenneth Coats, 28, took his pet out with his pregnant partner in her Range Rover Sport for a beach stroll in South Shields.

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But Coats, of Lyndon Close, East Boldon, was seen by suspicious police as he pulled over and got out on the A183 Coast Road on Monday, April 3, borough magistrates heard.

South Shields Magistrates Court.South Shields Magistrates Court.
South Shields Magistrates Court.

When questioned, he claimed he was legally entitled to drive due to his ban for dangerous driving and drink driving having expired.

But police checks showed he was not allowed back on the roads until he had retaken and passed an extended driving test.

Prosecutor Paul Doney said: “There’s a statement from an officer who says his attention was drawn to a Range Rover Sport.

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“He followed until the vehicle stopped on its own accord at the side of the road.

“The defendant got out of the driver’s seat and got the dog out, while a female moved over to the driver’s seat.

“Checks showed he was disqualified until extended test passed. He initially said that he would be covered on a business policy.

“When asked by police how a policy could cover him, he said, ‘It would not’. He was driving despite that disqualification being in place.”

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Dad-to-be Coats pleaded guilty to charges of driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

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The court was told he committed the offences from which he was banned over five years ago and had since matured and not reoffended.

Matthew Purves, defending, said Coats had recently set up a garden centre business from scratch which was thriving.

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He added: “He had taken himself and his girlfriend and their dog down to the road, to take the dog out for a walk.

“He was under the belief but wrongly that because his disqualification had come to an end, that that was the end of it.

“He hadn’t quite appreciated that there was an extended test to pass before he could drive again.”

Magistrates sentenced Coats to a 12-month community order, with 15 rehabilitation days and 80 hours of unpaid work.

They banned him from driving for six months and he must pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.