POLICE arrested a 62-year-old man who carried out a £500 trolley dash from a supermarket and was then found to have been driving illegally for two years.
Richard Davidson filled the trolley with gadgets and clothing at Asda, in Marina Way, Hartlepool, and tried to leave to get the goods to his car before he was stopped by security.
When police arrived, checks showed he had been disqualified from driving for four years at Durham Crown Court in 2006 and was given a nine-month prison sentence.
The ban had expired but Davidson had not re-sat and passed his driving test – as he was required to do before he got behind the wheel again.
Davidson told police that he did not know he had to re-sit the test.
He said he had been driving every day for the past two years, had managed to get insurance and even three points on his licence for speeding, but his wrongdoing was never picked up until his supermarket sweep.
Davidson pleaded guilty to theft of goods worth £501.79, and driving while disqualified, both on September 25.
Prosecuting, Lilian Atkinson said: “He said he’d driven from home where he’d dropped a friend off in Hartlepool then gone to Asda. He realised he had no method of payment and then he wasn’t sure why but he decided to steal the items.
“He said he had been driving that day and most other days for the past two years.”
Mitigating, Adrian Morris said: “On top of the ban in 2006 he was also went to prison that day and his driving licence was never handed in to the court. After his release he forgot about the additional caveat that he had to take his test so when the four years expired he began to drive and he has insurance and a licence, and in April even got three points for speeding, but again nothing came up in relation to the status of his licence.
“It was truly a surprise to him that after he was arrested in relation to the Asda matter, that he was actually a disqualified driver. He does accept that now, but he can be properly distinguished from those who come before this court fully aware that they have no licence.”
He added: “As for the theft he can’t understand why he did this. He forgot his credit card and he was subject to an anxiety attack in the shop, however, he does accept his behaviour was completely unacceptable.”
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Elizabeth Montgomery sentenced Davidson to a 12-month community order with supervision, added six points to his licence and ordered him to pay £85 costs.
Davidson, of Swainby Road, Trimdon Village, was reminded that he should not drive until he has re-sat and passed his test.