Great Britain

Trim of badly damaged tyre scraped along road in chase

A REPEAT motoring offender led police on a pursuit with his vehicle on only three fit tyres, a court heard.

Tony Westgarth, who was subject to three driving disqualifications, was at the wheel of the Ford Mondeo, which was brought to police attention due to the manner it was driven, on August 8.

Durham Crown Court was told concerned members of the public informed as one tyre was significantly damaged and its exposed trim causing damage to the roads on which it was driven round Shotton Colliery.

Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said police came across the Mondeo, on Bridge Street, and saw smoke coming from the vehicle as it swerved across the carriageway at 50-miles per hour.

The blue lights of the police vehicle were activated, but Westgarth failed to stop, traversing a grassed area as pedestrians were on an adjoining footpath.

Westgarth was “boxed in” as two other police vehicles came on scene, but he rammed one in coming to a halt, causing minor damage, although he claimed the sun was in his eyes.

He refused a request to provide a breath specimen.

Westgarth, 34, of Bruce Glazier Terrace, Shotton Colliery, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a specimen and no insurance.

Miss Wright said it was his eighth offence of driving while disqualified.

Andrew Teate, mitigating, said Wright had drunk vodka and, “in his inebriated state took the foolish decision to drive the car,” following recent family bereavements and an argument with his ex-partner.

“The defendant suffers from anxiety and there was a degree of panic over his reaction when the police signalled for him to stop.”

Mr Teate added that the speeds featured in the chase were not as high as are often seen in such driving cases before the court.

But, Judge Ray Singh said: “That was only because he only had three active tyres rather than being a considerate dangerous driving.

“He could not go any faster, with the car in that condition.”

The judge described it as, “an appalling piece” of driving by someone with, “a complete disregard for court orders.”

He imposed a 16-month prison sentence and banned Westgarth from driving for three years and eight months.

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