A DISQUALIFIED driver was caught by police as he breached a driving ban for the 16th time.
Brian Dodds, who has been deaf since birth, was banned from the roads in 2008 for dangerous driving, but has since clocked up scores of motoring offences.
Although his ban had expired, he failed to sit an extended test needed to regain his licence.
The 43-year-old, who has 15 previous convictions for driving while disqualified, was before the court after falling foul of the laws of the road again earlier this month.
Sunderland Magistrates’ Court was told police stopped him in a car in Tunstall Road in the city at about 6.10pm on Tuesday, August 6.
But Dodds, who had two men in the car with him, sped off.
About 10 minutes later, the same officer saw the car again.
The passengers ran off, but this time, Dodds, who was the driver, was held by police, who during a search found he was in possession of two bags of cannabis.
Clare Irving, prosecuting, said Dodds, of Blind Lane, Silksworth, admitted to police he was driving the car and had bought the cannabis for his own use, paying £10 for the drug.
Following the case through a sign language interpreter, Dodds pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, using a vehicle without insurance, and possession of a class B drug.
James Palmer, defending, said Dodds had been “full and frank” with police, so officers did not need to carry out forensics tests on the drugs.
He added that he had moved to Sunderland from Cumbria, as there was a better deaf community to be part of in Wearside.
Mr Palmer added: “I have not represented him before, but he seemed very affable in the cells. He was full and frank with me.
“He understands he has committed offences, apologies for it and gives himself to the mercy of the court.”
Magistrates adjourned the case so pre-sentence reports could be prepared.
Dodds was given an interim driving ban until the hearing on August 28.
Brake, a charity which campaigns for safer roads, said Dodds had shown a “frightening disregard” for road safety.
Laura Woods, spokeswoman for the organisation, said: “Repeatedly breaching a dangerous driving ban shows a frightening disregard for the safety of other road users.
“Brake calls for stronger penalties for people who drive when disqualified, to provide a real deterrent and underline the severity of these crimes.”