No driving ban for South Shields man despite racing stranger at 70mph in 30mph zone

A South Shields driver caught racing a stranger in a 30mph zone has been given the green light to get back on our roads.

By Michael Drummond
Tuesday, 09 July, 2019, 06:00
The two cars were spotted on police car CCTV at the traffic lights by Wearmouth Bridge. Pictures: Northumbria Police

Brandon Boyes, 21, and Braden Little, 24, were spotted revving their engines at a red light by Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland before speeding off into the night, a court heard.

But despite their high-octane, neck and neck drag race through the heart of the city, neither has been banned from driving.

Boyes, of Heaton Gardens in South Shields, was convicted of careless driving after a trial at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court. He had pleaded guilty to driving without insurance.

Little, of Helen Street in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to careless driving.

Veteran roads police officer PC Gary Morris was on duty in a marked car about 9.40pm on April 22 when he spotted two cars side by side at the lights just off Wearmouth Bridge.

One car – a white BMW – was being driven by Braden Little, and the other – a dark grey VW Scirocco – was being driven by Brandon Boyes.

PC Morris said: “I hear the sounds of their engines revving [and] see the two of them accelerating hard as they exit the roundabout.

“It was quite clear from the moment they pulled away from the lights that the two of them intended to outdo each other.

“Both were racing hard.”

PC Morris gave chase along the dual carriageway, but despite reaching speeds of more than 70mph he was unable to get any closer to them, the court heard.

The two racers were ‘neck and neck’ for most of the half-mile stretch of road, PC Morris told the judge.

“They were approaching the roundabout in the region of 80mph.

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“It was clearly careless [driving] bordering on dangerous at the speeds they were travelling at.”

Fearing a collision, PC Morris activated his blue lights as the cars approached another roundabout and the pair eventually pulled over.

He told the court that while he could say precisely what speed the pair had been driving, he had reached speeds in excess of 70mph during the pursuit without gaining on them.

Interviewed about the incident shortly after, Boyes accepted that he was driving the VW Scirocco but refused to explain the manner of his driving.

When asked what his connection to the driver of the white BMW was, Boyes replied: “I do not have a clue who he is.”

He declined to give evidence at his trial, but argued that he was doing 50mph ‘at the most’ and denied his driving was careless.

District Judge Bernard Begley said he could not be sure that Boyes was guilty of a charge of racing on a public highway.

However he found him guilty of careless driving.

Boyes’ limited finances were taken into account and he was fined £125. He must also pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

But despite his careless driving Boyes was not banned from the roads.

Instead he was given eight penalty points and a warning from the judge: “I am not going to disqualify you today but you need to think, should you commit any further endorsable offences you are getting close to the 12 points [and a ban].”

At a separate hearing the driver of the white BMW – Braden Little – also escaped a driving ban.

He was fined £255 and ordered to pay £95 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. He was given six penalty points.