A COUPLE who falsely reported their car as stolen were warned by a judge to expect a prison sentence.
Tony Cowan told police his Mazda had been stolen after he crashed it, Durham Crown Court heard.
His partner Karen Dawson also made a statement in support of his lie.
Cowan hit a lamppost near the centre of Chester-le-Street, then fled the scene.
His story was exposed when his DNA was found on one of the car’s airbags.
Prosecutor Chris Baker told the court another car had to swerve to avoid Cowan, who suffered minor injuries.
When police arrived at the scene they found a drunken man asleep on the back seat, but no sign of the driver.
Cowan, 30, and Dawson, 28, of Fourth Avenue, Chester-le-Street, admitted perverting the course of justice.
Cowan also admitted driving without due care and attention on May 17, last year.
Tony Davis, defending, said: “Both are in full-time employment, and Ms Dawson is of previous good character.
“I have warned them of the likely outcome, but would ask bail is extended while pre-sentence reports are prepared.”
Judge Christopher Prince said: “Perverting the course of justice is always a serious matter. But you should both prepare for custody, because it is overwhelmingly likely that when you next come back to this court you will be going to prison.”
They were bailed until April 11.