Driver ran off from police at roadside test because of issue at home with dog, court told

A Sunderland man found himself in the dock when he fled from police to check on his dogs at home, a court heard.

Christopher Newby, 35, was pulled over around 500m from his house in Garden Place, Penshaw, by police who suspected he had been drink-driving.

But when the breathalyser device proved out of date and an officer radioed for a replacement at 11.40pm Thursday, December 2, Newby ran off.

He had left his car key with the policewoman and had given her his full name and address, and believed he was permitted to leave the scene - but he was mistaken.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Instead, he was charged with obstructing an officer and failing to cooperate with a preliminary roadside breath test, to which he pleaded guilty.

Prosecutor James Long told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “This is a case of the defendant running away from police officers at the side of a road.

“The officers saw the defendant’s vehicle being driven somewhat erratically, and they followed.

“It was going at excessive speed and was all over the road, and they requested it to stop, which it did.

“An officer spoke to the defendant and there was concern he had been drinking, she could smell alcohol on his breath. He said he had had one pint.

“He was told that he must provide a breath test but there was an issue with the roadside breath test procedure.

“He asked if he could smoke and was told he could. He suddenly ran off. She gave chase but failed to catch up.”

Robin Ford, defending, said: “At no stage was Mr Newby placed under arrest or warned about his conduct.

“His recollection is that the breath test kit was out of date and that he believed that she was being called on the radio to another job.

“He did leave because he was told by his partner that there was an issue at home with one of their dogs.

“He left but he did give the officer his car key and his name and address.”

District Judge Paul Currer fined Newby £450, with £85 court costs and a £45 victim surcharge, and handed him four driving licence penalty points.