A DRIVER came “very close” to going to prison after climbing on to a truck and holding a sit-down protest in his car as tax officers tried to tow it away.
The enforcement officers had gone to take away Hartlepool man Scott Bailey’s green Ford Focus car after he had failed to pay his car tax.
The two workers were hauling the car on to the back of a truck in Everett Street, off Jesmond Road, when the 30-year-old came out of his house asking them what they were doing.
Bailey went back into his home and returned, threatening the men with a piece of wood before climbing up on to the back of their vehicle and getting into his car.
He was given an 18-month community order after he admitted causing fear of unlawful violence and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour on May 11.
Bailey, of Everett Street, Hartlepool, was also fined £130 and ordered to pay £30 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
Janet Watson, chairman of the bench at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, told the 30-year-old: “You have come very close to going to prison today. But we have decided to go along with the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation department.”
Joanne Hesse, prosecuting, said Bailey had become verbally abusive, shouting and swearing towards the officers in the street before getting into his car.
The enforcement officers were said to be distressed and “in fear of their personal safety.”
Stuart Haywood, mitigating, said: “Mr Bailey is clearly a man who acts before he thinks.
“He did not realise they were coming to take his car. He thought they were just two random people.”
Mr Haywood added that Bailey disputed that he used the plank of wood to threaten the officers. But magistrates took the decision that it should be destroyed.