A SON wrote off his dad’s company car when it flipped over three times and smashed into a road sign.
A security guard watched in shock as Daniel Oswald crashed the Vauxhall Astra at 5.20am on Saturday on Shotton Road, Shotton Colliery.
He then saw four men get out of the car and run off, while another – who turned out to be Oswald – stood by and made a phone call.
The 24-year-old’s early morning adventure led to him being charged with aggravated taking a vehicle without consent, failing to provide a specimen, driving with no insurance and no licence and a fifth charge of careless driving.
He pleaded guilty to all charges when he was put before Peterlee Magistrates’ Court and also admitted a breach of a 12-month conditional discharge for tampering with a car imposed in February.
Debra Jones, prosecuting, said: “A security guard on the industrial estate contacted police to report a Vauxhall Astra had collided with one of the advertising boards near to the roundabout with Barclays bank.
“He had not seen the driver of the vehicle, but said it had been driven at speed and had come from the direction of Peterlee up in the direction of Shotton, passed Maxwells DIY.
“He said the vehicle flipped two or three times before hitting the roadside furniture.
“Five males alighted from the vehicle and four ran away, indicating no injuries, and the fifth male remained by the vehicle and was using his mobile phone.
“From that he’s got the impression he had been driving and that was Daniel Oswald. He accepts he was driving.”
She added George Oswald called police an hour after the accident to say his son had taken the vehicle.
Once at the police station, Oswald refused to take a breath test, stating he wanted to speak to a solicitor first.
Neil Bennett, mitigating, said: “He’s not been racing around the area and there’s no careless driving which has led up to this. He has lost control of the vehicle.”
Magistrates sentenced Oswald, of Snaith Terrace, Wingate, to 16 weeks, suspended for 18 months, for taking the car and failing to provide a specimen, with a 24 month driving ban for failing to provide.
He was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work, pay fines totalling £166 and £85 court costs.
* Four men, a 19-year-old, two 20-year-olds and a 21-year-old, are due to appear before magistrates next Wednesday charged with allowing themselves to be carried in a stolen vehicle.