Drink driver who crashed into parked car in South Shields was twice the limit and had empty bottles of alcohol in his vehicle

A drink-driving engineering student who smashed into a parked car pleaded for police not to be called to the scene of his crime, a court was told.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 5:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 11:23 am

Jack Burnett, 18, made the request when collared by the man whose vehicle he had ploughed into during the early hours crash at the Lawe Top in South Shields.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Burnett, of Newton Garth Farm, Benton Road, West Boldon, told him: “Hey mate, please don’t call the police – can we just swap details?”

But his request was rejected, and Burnett told police who arrived at the scene: “I wish I hadn’t, I was pressured into driving.”

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South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

A breath test revealed 70 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – exactly double the drink-drive limit.

The court heard Burnett got behind the wheel of his blue Renault Clio at 4.15am on Sunday, November 3, in Livingstone Street, after drinking with pals.

Prosecutor Keith Laidlaw said a resident heard a banging outside his house and saw a blue car had crashed into a black vehicle – and that the first car reversed and drove off.

He went to the neighbour’s home whose car had been damaged and they started a search for the driver, finding him parked in nearby Baring Street.

Mr Laidlaw added: “They found his Clio parked nearby and the driver was in the driving seat.”

Police who attended spotted empty bottles of alcohol in Burnett’s vehicle.

David Forrester, defending Burnett, who pleaded guilty to drink driving, said: “He tells me that he’s been out that night with friends.

“It was two or three hours from his last drink but nonetheless he’d had a good drink beforehand.

“He thought the car was on yellow lines, that’s the reference to the pressuring. He doesn’t leave the scene and he deserves credit.”

District judge Kathryn Meek banned Burnett from the roads for 19 months and handed him a 12-month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work.

She told him: “It’s always serious when somebody drives under the influence of alcohol.”

Burnett was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £90 victim surcharge.