Banned driver avoids prison after being caught behind the wheel twice

Ipswich Crown Court

Ionut Avadanei was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

An Ipswich man caught driving while disqualified on two occasions in the town has avoided an immediate prison sentence. 

Ionut Avadanei, 24, was behind the wheel twice in 2019 without a licence, and the first offence also put him in breach of a suspended sentence. 

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Avadanei was stopped by officers in St Matthew's Street, Ipswich, on February 24 because the Peugeot 206 he was driving had a faulty brake light. 

Police checks revealed he was driving while disqualified and he told officers at the scene that he was not aware of this. 

On June 20, Avadanei was caught again when a police officer recognised him behind the wheel of a BMW in Crown Street, Ipswich. 

He was pulled over in Woodridge Road and initially denied knowing he was disqualified from driving before admitting that he did know, the court heard. 

He told officers he was returning his cousin's car. 

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The first offence in February 2019 put Avadanei in breach of a suspended sentence order after he was handed 18 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, in April 2018 for handling stolen goods. 

On that occasion, he had tried to sell silverware stolen from St Mary and St Botolph church, in Whitton to a jeweller

Avadanei, of Crescent Road, Ipswich, appeared to be sentenced for two charges of driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and breaching a suspended sentence on Thursday. 

Peter Spary, mitigating, said Avadanei has three young children and works in a chocolate factory. 

Mr Spary said he has not committed any offences since June 2019, and now "understands the seriousness of driving while disqualified". 

Judge David Pugh handed Avadanei a total of 12 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 140 hours of unpaid work. 

The judge also fined Avadanei £500 for breaching the suspended sentence. There was no separate penalty for driving without insurance. 

Judge David Pugh told Avadanei: "You are very fortunate indeed. Do not breach this suspended sentence or you will go to prison." 

The judge also banned Avadanei from driving for 12 months.