Is this Sheffield’s worst driver?

Craig Eyre
Craig Eyre
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THIS is the face of Sheffield’s worst driver - a man with a ‘horrendous’ criminal record spanning 118 motoring-related convictions.

Craig Eyre has been convicted 33 times of driving while banned from the roads, and has 27 previous convictions for driving without insurance.

He has been convicted 15 times of driving away from petrol stations without paying for fuel, and 30 times for vehicle-taking and theft.

Even his own barrister admitted the 39-year-old has a ‘horrendous’ criminal past, which began when he started offending at just 15 years old.

Eyre already had 27 convictions for driving while disqualified when he appeared for the latest time at Sheffield Crown Court to admit 19 motoring-related offences.

He was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to six offences of driving while disqualified, six of driving without insurance, two of handling stolen licence plates, four thefts, and one of making off without payment.

Judge Roger Keen told him: “Here you are again - and nothing seems to stop you. You are a persistent criminal.”

Eyre, of Remington Road, Parson Cross, Sheffield, committed two of his latest offences at the Wentworth Park Service Station off the A61 Sheffield to Barnsley road.

He also drove off without paying from The Cross Keys garage at Hoyland Common, and sped away from a Brobot filling station in South Yorkshire without paying for his fuel.

Laura Marshall, prosecuting, said Eyre was banned from driving for three years in October 2009 - and the new offences were committed while he was back behind the wheel illegally between July and October last year.

He was first arrested for stealing a new £22,000 Ford Transit van and, when interviewed by police, said he had been offered cash to let someone else drive it.

Soon afterwards Eyre was seen on CCTV - wearing a black T-shirt with a distinctive design - driving away from the Hoyland Common filling station having stolen diesel fuel.

A police officer recognised him from the pictures and, when arrested six weeks later, he was still wearing the same top.

On another occasion, when he drove off without paying, an assistant spotted his picture on a police ‘wanted’ poster of fuel bandits being hunted by the police.

His catalogue of crimes also includes 12 previous convictions for handling stolen goods, and he has served several prison sentences in the past.

But Kevin Jones, defending, argued Eyre should be spared jail this time.

And he added: “Disqualification isn’t going to trouble him.”

He admitted Eyre had lived a life of crime and drugs, but said 10 months ago he became the carer of his six-year-old son which he claimed had made a big impact on him.

“His son has disabilities and, for the first time, he has put something ahead of himself,” said Mr Jones.

He had been on a tagged curfew since his arrest and his drug problem had significantly reduced, he said.

“At 39 he really is at the end of the road,” added the barrister. “For the last seven years he has always received custodial sentences and a non-custodial penalty would be his last chance.”

But Judge Keen told Eyre: “Your type of offending is becoming more and more prevalent as the price of fuel rockets.

“People need to know that prison sentences await everyone who does it.”

He said Eyre’s position was aggravated because he had committed the later offences while on bail.

Eyre was also given yet another driving ban, this time lasting for four years.