Fleeing driver caught – when he stopped to pay his Tyne Tunnel fees during police chase

TUNNEL TARGET: The Tyne Tunnel, which was the focus of an operation to find motorist breaking the rules of the road.
TUNNEL TARGET: The Tyne Tunnel, which was the focus of an operation to find motorist breaking the rules of the road.

A MOTORIST who tried to give police in South Tyneside the slip was caught out as he stopped to pay the toll fee at the Tyne Tunnel.

Takeaway boss Hargit Bariana was seen driving erratically on the A19 by a patrolling officer on September 14.

The police’s opinion was that it was a deliberate attempt to avoid the procedure.

Prosecutor Fiona Varley

But when the officer flashed his emergency lights and signalled for him to pull over, the 43-year-old continued to drive past the A184 before finally coming to a stop at the toll booths at Howdon, North Tyneside.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told Dariana “appeared sleepy” and smelt of alcohol but declined to take a roadside breath test five times, saying he had a chest infection.

Bariana was found guilty of failing to stop when required by a police officer, failing to provide specimens of blood and breath following a trial at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

He was back at court yesterday for sentencing and was banned from driving for three years and given an 18-month community order

Fiona Varley, prosecuting, said: “He was arrested and taken to South Shields police station, where he feigned unconsciousness.

“He was taken to South Tyneside Hospital for assessment but told doctors he couldn’t give a blood sample for the drink-drive procedure as he was feeling ill and had a bug.”

Gareth Cracknell, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We can consider these to be very serious offences.

“It was a deliberate refusal and we do feel it passes the custody threshold but believe a community order would be more appropriate.”

Bariana, of Hollymount Square, Bedlington, Northumberland, was also ordered to pay court costs of £300 and a £60 victim surcharge.

Twitter@shieldsgazchris