Woman told "don't be an idiot" after getting behind wheel while banned from driving

A woman who got behind the wheel on a mercy mission in Sunderland while banned has been warned by a judge not to be an “idiot” next time.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 10:04 am

Natasha Waschniewski, 21, was stopped by police as she drove a Hyundai on the A1018 Commercial Road in Hendon.

It came as a result of a tip-off on Thursday, August 12, in relation to Waschniewski, of Watling Avenue, Seaham.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard the offence was committed just three months after she was banned from the roads for drink-driving.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Deputy District Judge Gary Garland criticised the support worker for her law-breaking – and extended her disqualification.

He told her he accepted her 11pm dash to collect a friend was understandable, due to concerns around women’s safety.

But he added: “It doesn’t excuse it. It’s stupid for a number of reasons.

“You were disqualified, and as far as you drove a car, you were not insured.

“You may not be public enemy number one, but you certainly need to think before you rush into a car.

“Don’t be an idiot next time. If someone rings you up, tell them to ring someone else.”

Prosecutor Keith Laidlaw told the hearing: “An officer was aware that intelligence he had was linked to a disqualified driver.

“He stopped her car and she sat in the back of his vehicle. Checks showed she was disqualified from driving until May 13 next year.

“She was cautioned and reported for driving while disqualified.”

Waschniewski pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified at an earlier hearing at the same court.

The court heard she was banned from motoring on Friday, May 14, at South Northumberland Magistrates’ Court, for driving with excess alcohol.

She represented herself in court but made no comment other than she was aware of the recommendations of a Probation Service report into her offence.

Judge Garland added six months to her disqualification and handed her a six-month community order.

It carries a requirement of 10 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

Waschniewski was also fined £100, but there was no court costs or victim surcharge.