Seaham delivery driver in court after being led into dead end by the Google Maps app
Google’s Maps app took the rap for a banned Wearside delivery driver being caught at the wheel in London.
A court heard the popular tech roads' directory directed Louis Whitmore, 29, into a dead end near Brownhill Road, Catford, in the south-east of the city,
Whitmore, of Melbury Street, Seaham, was spotted there by police on Wednesday, September 23.
They checked his motoring credentials and found he was disqualified, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.
Defence solicitor Peter Thubron said the news came as a surprise to Whitmore, who knew nothing of it.
He said his client had twice unknowingly failed to provide his driving details to police when required for offences linked to a van he had hired.
His unintentional non-compliance led to him being given six penalty points on two occasions by another court.
It saw him receive an eight-month disqualification in June last year, under the 12-point totting up process.
Whitmore was spared a fresh ban by magistrates, who were persuaded by Mr Thubron’s explanation.
Prosecutor Lauren Duffy also told the hearing: “At 12.30pm, police spotted a Transit van, the driver was the defendant.
“Checks were completed at the roadside which confirmed that he was banned.
“He was banned on June 3 until February 18 of this year. He has no previous convictions, he is a man of good character.”
Mr Thubron described Whitmore's case as “curious” and said the mix-up over his ban had happened due to a change of address.
He said his client had not told the van hire firm he and his mum had moved, and the police letters had gone to their old home.
Mr Thubron added: “The other little twist is that Google Maps told him to go one way and then another way.
“He chose one and it was a dead end. He ended up with police blue lights behind him and they found he was disqualified.
“He took the wrong turn because of Google Maps.”
The court handed Whitmore, who pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, six penalty points.
He was fined £120, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.