Driver who raced from police at twice the speed limit admitted he had downed 'a couple of shandies'

A Mercedes driver who led officers in a midnight police chase said he’d had “a couple of shandies” after being caught.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 1:51 pm

Avtar Singh, 38, abandoned his escape bid when he ended up with two flat tyres on the E-Class car on the A689 between Hartlepool and Billingham.

The officers who arrested him after a 10-minute pursuit thought he was not taking it seriously, prosecutor Emma Dowling told Teesside Crown Court.

Singh, who runs a seven-days-a-week store in Billingham, put it down to his manner dealing with customers every day, said Kelleigh Lodge, defending.

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The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

She said: “He is outgoing and friendly and he puts it down to his customer relations.”

An on-board police video presented in court showed Singh, a married father of two young children, holding out his right wrist towards the traffic officers at 12.15am on September 8 as he stepped from the Mercedes wearing shorts.

Miss Dowling said he had driven at twice the speed limit in 30mph and 40mph areas, ignoring traffic calming measures, and had forced other vehicles to swerve out of the way.

She said: “When he was stopped he was described as certainly not taking anything very seriously.

”He appeared to be intoxicated in some way. At the police station he messed around during the drink-driving procedure.

”He was shown the footage of the pursuit and he said that he had had a couple of shandies before he got into the car.”

Miss Lodge said that Singh’s family and two part-time employees would suffer if he was given a immediate custodial sentence.

He worked from 7am to 9pm and his wife spoke little English, and the workers would lose their employment, said Miss Lodge.

She said he admitted causing £40 damage to a cell while in custody, out of frustration when there was a delay over his legal representation

Judge Howard Crowson told him: “It took quite a long time for the police to catch up with you, it developed into a more serious situation when you pulled into an area of speed bumps

“There was some concern that your driving was impaired by something, but magistrates will have to decide.

”Really this driving was bad because of the excessive speed and the fact that there were other drivers getting out of the way in both directions.”

Singh, of Gainsborough Crescent, Billingham, was given a 12 months jail sentence suspended for 12 months, an eight weeks curfew from 10pm to 6am, with 20 days rehabilitation requirements, and disqualified from driving for 15 months and until he passes an extended driving test.

He was ordered to pay £40 for the damage and £140 costs

Singh pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and no insurance. He faces a magistrates trial for failing to provide a test sample.