Drink driver stole pal’s car and crashed it after driving just a few yards while three times over the limit

A chicken factory worker has avoided being jailed for pinching a pal’s car while over three times the limit - and crashing.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 7:00 am
The Sunderland case was dealt with in South Shields at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Boozy Anthony Smillie, 23, left his friend’s home in Front Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, with him at 2am, a court heard.

But he inexplicably popped back and swiped the keys – and drove just a few yards before smashing into a parked BMW in the same street.

Smillie, a dad, also of Front Road, fled home but was found soon afterwards on his settee by police – and with the Polo’s keys nearby.

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He caused £200 of damage to the stolen motor and £3,690 to the BMW on Saturday, August 8, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

They pulled back from imprisoning him for up to 26 weeks and instead handed him an 18-month community order.

It carries a requirement of 200 hours of unpaid work – and they also banned him from driving for 28 months.

Prosecutor Leanne Duffy said: “At 2am, officers attended Front Street, where a VW Polo had collided with a parked BMW.

“Two males were seen at the Polo. There was substantial front damage to the Polo.

“Officers attended the victim’s address. His mother said the defendant had taken the keys without her son’s permission.

“The police went to the defendant’s address and found him on the sofa, and he was drunk. The keys were also found there.”

Ms Duffy said Smillie gave a sample of 117mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath in a police station tests. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Greg Flaxen, defending, admitted Smillie could have expected a jail term had he injured another road user.

But he said: “He appears today, very nervous, there the whites of his eyes.

“He’s been told that the offence carries a custodial sentence.

“He’s been with his friend, and he walks back to the address and, for some reason unknown to him to this day, he’s taken the vehicle.

“Mr Smillie has talked to the friend whose car he took since this incident and they are friends to this day.

“The question we are going to have to ask is, do we send this man to prison. He’s shown genuine remorse.

“It’s not all dark, there are positives with this gentleman. He’s tried to change his ways.”

Mr Flaxen added: “Mr Smillie explains that he is dyslexic and has struggled with that.

“Perhaps there’s something else afoot, there may be something else that he’s struggling with, other than his reading and writing.”

Smillie pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, drink-driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

As part of the community order, imposed for the vehicle taking and drink-drive offences, Smillie must also do 15 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

There was no separate penalty for driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

There were no court costs or victim surcharge.

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