Serial driving menace did '˜donuts' in BMW in front of police
A serial driving menace has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he was seen doing '˜donuts' in front of a marked police car.
Michael Strong was spotted doing several laps on a grassed area in Hendon on October 20, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.
The 29-year-old was released from Durham Prison last month, after serving six weeks of a three-month sentence for another dangerous driving offence.
Prosecutor John McGlone said two police officers had parked at a doctor’s surgery, on Suffolk Street, overlooking land formerly known as Amberley Street and Harrogate Street.
One officer remained in the car. At 3.45pm, he saw Strong’s white BMW X6.
Mr McGlone said the land was previously home to the two residential streets, but was grassed over after the houses were demolished.
“He has driven on the grassed area between the houses, carrying out spins and turns, directly in front of the officer’s line of view, sliding and spinning.”
Mr McGlone said that when the other officer returned to the car, he said: “I can’t believe he just did that”.
“He completed two loops of the field, swerving and spinning and was about to start a third when the officer illuminated the blue lights to stop the BMW,” he added.
“The defendant drove directly off the grassed area on to Mowbray Road, then onto Suffolk Street, where he stopped.”
Strong, of High Elms, Sunderland, admitted dangerous driving.
Chris Wilson, defending, said Strong was originally going to plead not guilty.
He said: “Part of the confusion in this case is that part of the land belonged to the defendant’s grandfather and the argument is whether it was a public place.
“He has to concede that he’s strayed outside of his grandfather’s land on to a public place. He accepts he’s done wrong and pleads guilty.
“He accepts he did two donuts and he accepts that was dangerous.
Sentencing him, District Judge Roger Elsey said he would suspend the three-month sentence for six months, due to him having served a custodial sentence, since the offence.
He said:“I hope that custodial sentence of six weeks will have had an effect on him, because it was his first time in Durham.”
Strong was also told to pay £100 costs and £80 victim surcharge.
He was banned from driving for a year, and will have to sit an extended driving test to drive again.