Banned driver with ‘problems with cocaine and alcohol’ handed jail reprieve after making ‘unbelievable changes' to lifestyle

A reforming South Tyneside cocaine and alcohol user has avoided being jailed for driving while banned.

By Gareth Crickmer
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 4:55 am

Kyle Thompson, 36, was warned by magistrates at his first court appearance the offence could see him put behind bars.

But when Thompson, of Winskell Road, Simonside, South Shields, returned to court to be sentenced, they were persuaded he should keep his liberty.

They backtracked after representations by his solicitor, David Forrester, and his sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

The sponsor gave evidence to South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court that Thompson had made “unbelievable changes” to his life in the past six months.

He confirmed this included around “problems with cocaine and alcohol” – and he believed his lifestyle changes were permanent.

The court had heard Thompson was seen driving a Ford Transit van in Winskell Road by police on Tuesday, November 9.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Winchester said: “They were unable to stop the vehicle, but checks showed he was driving while disqualified.

“On November 15 they returned to his address and found a bag of cannabis in his kitchen.”

Building firm boss Thompson pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and possession of cannabis.

At the time, he was serving a 53-month disqualification, imposed in July 2020 for two sets of admitted roads' charges.

They were failing to provide a sample for analysis, driving while banned and driving without insurance in June that year.

The following month, Thompson was back before the courts for the same charges as well as dangerous driving.

In April 2019, he was disqualified from driving for 42 months for failing to provide a sample for analysis and driving without due care and attention.

He also admitted failing to stop after an accident, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

Mr Forrester said: “He’s at a better stage in his life than at any time previously.”

Magistrates sentenced Thompson to 24-month community order, with 20 rehabilitation days.

They fined him £550, with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs, and added six months to his roads’ ban, meaning he cannot drive until July 2025.

Kay Gilbert, chair of the bench, praised Thompson for his rehabilitation efforts.