Banned Doncaster driver caught behind the wheel of his van on the M1 near Sheffield

A banned driver from South Yorkshire was caught behind the wheel of his van on the M1 near Sheffield because his designated driver had forgotten his glasses and couldn’t see to drive in the bad weather, a court heard.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 12:12 pm

Christopher Barret was stopped by police near the Woodall Services between Junctions 30 and 31 on June 5 after they received a call reporting the 38-year-old as a banned driver.

Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court was told on Wednesday, September 23, that Barret had been banned from the roads for a drink-drive offence at the time of the offence.

Prosecuting, Lynn Bickley said: “The vehicle was stopped and he told the officers he was a disqualified driver and that he was only driving because the person who had been driving had forgotten his glasses.”

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Christopher Barret was jailed after he was stopped on the M1 near Sheffield

Barret, of Schofield Road, Mexborough, admitted driving while disqualified and driving without insurance when he appeared before the court.

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Mitigating, Denny Lau said that the van had pulled onto the slip road to enter the motorway when the other driver realised he couldn’t see properly, and Barret had planned to only drive to the service station and call for assistance from there.

He said: “He accepts he has made a number of mistakes. He was offered the drink-drive awareness course and, had he taken it, his disqualification would have ended by this point, but he didn’t take it because he was going through a divorce and it slipped his mind.

“It’s a vehicle that he uses for work, which he allows other people to drive.”

Barret told the court that he had struggled with alcohol in the past and had spent £5,000 on rehab’.

Sentencing Barret to 14 weeks in prison, District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “You were driving on the M1 while disqualified and you have similar convictions for similar offences.”

He added that he did not accept Barret’s excuse for being behind the wheel, because if that had been the case they would have stopped on the slip road and waited for help there.

He also banned Barret for a further 12 months and ordered him to pay a £128 victim surcharge on his release from prison.

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