Banned South Yorkshire driver caught behind the wheel walks away from court with community order

Pennington was brought before Sheffield Crown Court for sentence on Thursday, November 1
Pennington was brought before Sheffield Crown Court for sentence on Thursday, November 1

A banned driver found using his vehicle on a major South Yorkshire road in the early hours of the morning has walked away from court with a community order. 

Connah Pennington was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, over dangerous driving that saw him collide head-on with an oncoming vehicle in July 2016 when he was 18-years-old. 

Pennington, who has never held a full driving license, was disqualified from driving as a consequence of his conviction and was told he must take an extended test. 

Despite the ban, officers patrolling near to the Dearne Valley Parkway at around 2.45am on April 5 this year caught Pennington driving a Vauxhall Vectra vehicle. 

“There were five males in the car. The boot was hanging low, and the vehicle looked to be overloaded,” said Louise Gallagher, prosecuting. 

She added: “The defendant was identified as a disqualified driver, and was arrested.”

Summarising the details of the 2016 collision that led to Pennington’s conviction, Ms Gallagher described how Pennington drove round bends at speed and overtook vehicles dangerously while he was being followed by police. 

Pennington, now aged 20, pleaded guilty to offences of driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and breach of a suspended sentence order at an earlier hearing. 

James Gould said in mitigation: “My submission is he doesn’t require a custodial sentence in all of the circumstances. Since his report was prepared he has completed all of his unpaid work, and is due to start the Driving Matters course next week.”

“He has the opportunity of paid work if he retains his liberty,” he added. 

The judge, Recorder Matthew Happold, told Pennington he thought it would be ‘unjust’ to activate his suspended sentence and sentenced him to a 12 month community order, the requirements of which include 100 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.