Biker who crashed outside pub before being found carrying knife and illegal drugs spared jail

A biker who crashed outside a South Tyneside pub while armed with a knife and in possession of drugs has been spared jail.

Zak Middleton, 21, pranged his motorbike next to Cleadon’s Britannia Inn – and showed signs he was drunk or on drugs.

A breath test revealed he was under the drink-drive limit but he then refused to give a blood sample for further analysis, a court was told.

Prosecutor Marc Atkins said police also searched him at the scene in Front Street on Wednesday, November 25, and found a lock knife in his hoodie top.

Zak Middleton, 21, pranged his motorbike next to Cleadon’s Britannia Inn – and showed signs he was drunk or on drugs.

And an amount of unprescribed and illegal Valium was discovered on him at a police station after his arrest.

Jobless Middleton was jailed for 12 weeks when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, but his sentence was suspended for a year.

Mr Atkins said: “Officers travelled to a report of a road traffic accident involving a motorcycle. When they arrived they could see a motorcycle by the side of the road.

“A civilian handed them a set of keys and said they had taken them off the defendant, who was standing by the side of the vehicle.

South Tyneside Law Courts. Picture by FRANK REID.

“They spoke to the cyclist and decided he was under the influence of drink or drugs. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet.”

Mr Atkins added: “A search was done and a lock knife was found in the middle pocket of his hoodie.

“He was taken to a police station and a quantity of blue tablets was found on him.

“A sample of blood was requested from the defendant, which he failed to provide. He was interviewed in respect of the offences.

“The starting point for possession of a knife is six months. The crown says that it was a deliberate refusal to give a blood sample.”

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “He’s 21 and he has no previous convictions. By virtue of being here today, he has lost his good name.

“At the time, he had been living in Sunderland with a friend after some difficulties at home.

“The bike is his and he has a licence to drive it. He was driving home and he acknowledges there was an impairment.

“The most serious matter is the small lock knife which had a blade of perhaps three or four inches. It’s in his inner clothing, in the pocket of his hoodie.”

Middleton, of Fairholme Avenue, Harton, South Shields, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen while in charge of a vehicle, possession of a knife in public and possession of class C controlled Valium.

He was jailed for 12 weeks for knife possession, and also given suspended terms of four weeks for failure to provide and one week for the drugs offence, both to run concurrently.

He must also complete 10 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service and was banned from driving for 12 months, with £85 court costs and a £128 victim surcharge.

Magistrates ordered the forfeiture of the knife and drugs.

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