Nissan satnav plotter caught drink-driving a van while disqualified

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A HEAVY goods driver was caught three times over the alcohol limit while without a licence.

David Whitfield was stopped by police in Boldon Colliery while driving a Suzuki van erratically from side to side at 1.45pm on February 7 this year.

A breath test was carried out by police and two specimens of breath, provided by Whitfield, revealed he was driving three times over the legal limit.

The 40-year-old was also found to be driving without a valid driving licence.

Whitfield, of Silksworth Road, Sunderland, admitted driving without a licence and was found guilty of driving under the influence of excess alcohol following a trial at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court how Whitfield was already serving a suspended sentence for conspiracy to steal satellite navigation systems from the Nissan plant.

On January 27, Whitfield was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 200 hours’ unpaid work after being involved in transporting a stolen pallet of 96 satnavs.

Jamie Adam, defending, said: “This is some thing of an unusual case in a sense that he didn’t know his licence had been taken from him.

“It was a speeding offence whilst driving a heavy goods vehicle. There were four points already on his licence and he pleaded guilty by post.

“He was told he would receive a letter about his driving licence but it never came.

“Then he found out his licence had actually been taken from him.

“The first he heard about this was when he was arrested for the present matter.

“He has been a heavy goods driver for a number of years so any disqualification for him is very much a detriment.

“This would be a punishment to him as driving was his life.”

Judge William Lowe QC told Whitfield he was in breach of a suspended sentence and he planned to extend his existing suspended sentence by 18 months.

Judge Lowe also sentenced Whitfield to a further suspended sentence of four months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months supervision.

Whitfield has also been disqualified from driving for 30 months and was ordered to pay back the £600 costs of his trial and a statutory surcharge of £80.