Drunk driver writes off friend’s car

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A DRINK driver stole a friend’s car and flipped it over while tearing down a main road at high speed.

Michael Wilkinson, 47, was spotted driving the Nissan Micra down the A690 at speeds of up to 100mph.

The car flipped over after going off the road near Houghton and concerned motorists called the police.

Tests revealed Wilkinson was nearly twice the legal limit, with a reading of 157 milligrams of alcohol in his blood. The legal limit is 80.

Wilkinson, from Washington Street, Millfield, was also not insured to drive the car, which was written off in the crash on March 13.

He pleaded guilty to drink driving, using a vehicle without insurance and aggravated vehicle taking at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor David Richardson said a witness described how the car driven by Wilkinson went “careering” past, before missing a bend in the road, going up a grass bank and turning over.

Defending, Anna Metcalfe said Wilkinson was in charge of the car as he was servicing it for a long-standing friend of 30 years.

She said: “At approximately 7pm on the Saturday night he drank around three litres of cider, then took the car out on the Sunday morning.

“He has stated he has alcohol problems and has suffered with them for about 20 years.

“He said he did actually feel fine when he took the car out and said he had taken the car out to test drive it after the service.

“The car was written off and has been replaced by the insurance company.”

Joan Heckles, chair of the bench, ruled the case was so serious it would have to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

She said: “The manner in which you were driving, the risk to the public that could have been caused as a result, the scale of the damage caused and the extent that you were over the limit by, we believe this can only be dealt with by the crown court.”

Wilkinson was granted unconditional bail until a hearing at crown court.