A “DANGEROUS and reckless” motorist who did a U-turn before attempting to drive the wrong way through the Tyne Tunnel has narrowly avoided jail.
Anthony Nganga carried out the illegal manouevre while travelling through the north- bound tunnel in his Mercedes before being stopped by tunnel officers, who reported him to police.
The 39-year-old was given a 15-week prison term – suspended for 12 months – and banned from driving for two years after admitting dangerous driving on November 6, 2013. He was also ordered to pay £370 costs.
Nganga, of Humberstone Gate, Leicester, initially appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court before the matter was transferred to Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
Tyne Tunnel bosses have warned that his actions could have put lives at risk, while Northumbria Police say they will not tolerate such dangerous driving.
Stuart Sutton, operations manager at TT2 Limited, which operates the Tyne Tunnel, said: “Actions such as those of Anthony Nganga put other motorists at risk of injury, or worse, and that is something we cannot and will not tolerate. This incident was picked up instantly by our officers, who constantly monitor the full length of both tunnels, and a team was dispatched to stop the vehicle in question. We then worked with Northumbria Police to help them to bring their successful prosecution.
“The judgement of the court shows that the seriousness with which TT2 and Northumbria Police take such actions is reflected by the wider legal system and we hope this sends a strong message to motorists about the importance of safe and sensible driving.”
Chief Inspector John Heckles of Northumbria Police’s Road Safety Unit said: “We simply will not tolerate dangerous and reckless drivers. We work together with partners to ensure action is taken on those who do cause danger to others on our roads.
“Luckily, on this occasion, no one has been injured, however, this could have been a very different matter.”