Banned drink-driver caught jumping red light and going through Sunderland city centre bus lane in Jaguar

A banned motorist is starting a three-year roads’ ban after being caught drink-driving in Sunderland city centre – his second such offence.

Ritvan Bezati, 27, was carrying passengers when police became suspicious of his driving near Wearmouth Bridge.

They tailed Bezatim, of Bywell Gardens, Lobley Hill, Gateshead, and watched as he drove through a red light and across a bus lane.

When breathalysed on his way to a bar with friends on Friday, April 1, he was almost twice the legal limit for booze.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Magistrates in South Tyneside told Bezati he was an offender who did not learn his lessons – and banned him from driving for 36 months.

Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “Officers were on duty on St Mary’s Way when their attention was drawn to a white Jaguar car.

“The vehicle was travelling at speed past City Hall in Sunderland, and travelled through a red light at the roundabout with Wearmouth Bridge and into Bridge Street.

“He then turned left onto High Street West and then right through a bus lane and into John Street, where the police caused him to stop.

“The defendant said that he was on his way to the Ttonic bar. The officers formed the opinion he was drunk.

“They ran checks which showed he was a disqualified driver, and therefore had no insurance.

“A roadside breath test was conducted, which was failed. The defendant was taken into custody.”

Bezati, an Albanian national who has lived in the UK since 2016, gave a reading of 61mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

He pleaded guilty to driving without insurance, driving while banned and drink-driving, the same offence he had committed in 2019.

Jason Smith, defending, said Bezati had been disqualified from driving under the totting up process and was unaware of the ban.

Mr Smith told magistrates: “It should not be an aggravating factor in your sentencing.

“He had a full insurance policy that allowed him to drive, but because he was disqualified, would have been invalid.”

Alongside the ban, Bezati was handed a 12-month community order, with 25 rehabilitation days and 40 hours of unpaid work.

He must pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.