Serial Sunderland banned driver is jailed for ninth offence

Paul Clark was spotted at McDonald's, in Ryhope Road, Sunderland.
Paul Clark was spotted at McDonald's, in Ryhope Road, Sunderland.

A mechanic has been jailed for 24 weeks for his ninth offence of driving while disqualified.

Paul Clark was testing a Seat Ibiza which he had just repaired when he was seen driving at the McDonald's drive thru in Ryhope Road, Sunderland.

Police were alerted by a member of the public, South Northumbria Magistrates' Court heard.

"CCTV was viewed by officers," said Lesley Burgess, prosecuting. "It was apparent Clark, who is known to be disqualified, was driving.

"He was found with the car a short while later.

"Police formed the impression he was under the influence of something because he was unsteady on his feet, and his speech was slurred.

"An alcohol breath test at the police station gave a reading of eight, far below the legal limit.

"Police requested a blood sample to check for drugs, but Clark refused saying 'nee needles are gannin' in me'."

Clark, 27, of Pembroke Avenue, Silksworth, Sunderland, admitted driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, and failing to provide a specimen, all on August 12.

The court heard he has 68 previous convictions, including eight offences of driving while disqualified.

Ian Jordan, defending, said: "Mr Clark is a mechanic tinkerer, usually with quad and pit bikes in his back garden, but he also does cars.

"I'm not mechanically minded, but he tells me he had just fixed a leaking sump on this car.

"One might ask why he doesn't work as a mechanic in a garage, but he has educational problems which means he finds forms and exams difficult.

"Of itself, this was not the most serious offence of its type, the driving was over a short distance, and there's no evidence of unsafe driving.

"But Mr Clark's record means he is facing custody."

Clark was jailed for 24 weeks, disqualified from driving for 24 months, and ordered to pay £115 costs.