Jail for driver caught behind wheel for third time while disqualified

David Sheldrake was jailed for 16 weeks after peading guilty to driving while disqualified for the t

David Sheldrake was jailed for 16 weeks after peading guilty to driving while disqualified for the third time this year Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

An Ipswich man has been jailed after being caught driving while disqualified for the third time this year.

David Sheldrake said he was testing the clutch on his brother's new van when pulled over by a police officer who recognised the 31-year-old from a previous traffic stop.

Sheldrake, of Burlington Road, admitted driving while disqualified and driving without insurance at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday.

He was arrested and held in custody after being pulled over in his brother's newly bought Vauxhall Combo van on Saturday - about five weeks after being handed a suspended eight-week prison sentence and a 12-month driving ban for the same offence.

He had previously been banned for six months and given a community order for driving while disqualified in April.

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Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Sheldrake was spotted behind the wheel of the van by Pc George Laflin at 1.55pm in Lime Kiln Lane, Thetford.

"The officer could see a passenger and was of the impression they were trying to change seats with the driver," he added.

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Claire Lockwood, mitigating, said Sheldrake, admitted being the driver at the roadside, in police interview and at the earliest opportunity in court.

"He accepts and understands this is a serious offence," she added.

"He had no plans to drive the van, which had been purchased by his brother, who was a named driver on his father's insurance policy."

The court heard Sheldrake had been picked up in Barningham and driven to Sainsbury's to buy groceries and medication for his daughter.

After leaving the supermarket, Sheldrake agreed to drive the vehicle for a short distance to resolve a problem with the clutch.

Ms Lockwood said: "He pulled over, as required, and said he didn't try to change seats, but that his brother was out of his seat and trying to steady glass jars of pickles that had moved."

She asked magistrates to take into account Sheldrake's family circumstances, which included a traumatic recent bereavement.

Magistrates sentenced him to 16 weeks in prison and imposed an 18-month driving disqualification upon his release from custody. His licence will also be endorsed for driving without insurance.

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