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Boy racer drove car off - after being disqualified
7:30am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A MOTORIST who drove away from court moments after being disqualified from driving has narrowly avoided jail.
Charles Watts, 24, appeared before magistrates at Basildon to face charges of driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
Watts had appeared at court in September as part of a crackdown on road racing around Lakeside shopping centre in West Thurrock.
He was given six points on his licence for driving 60mph in a 40 zone and, because he already had six points, was disqualified from driving for nine months.
He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £80 costs.
Magistrates heard Watts had left court on that day, after telling them his car would be collected later in the day as it was parked nearby, and walked to Westgate Car Park, where he had actually parked his car.
Police waited outside and saw Watts’ Vauxhall Astra leaving shortly after. They pulled the car over and arrested him.
Claire Burtwistle, defending, said Watts was “bitterly remorseful”, but said he had only intended to move his car from the car park.
He said he was concerned for its safety and was moving it to a side road to be collected.
She also told magistrates Watts had a scaffolding job lined up in Bristol if he avoided jail. Watts, of Walworth, south east London, pleaded guilty to both offences.
Prosecutor Sam Doyle said officers believed he intended to drive away.
The crackdown on cruisers at Lakeside, dubbed Operation Wagtail, has been a great success.
Chief Insp Ben Hodder, who has been leading the operation, said: “Mr Watts was lucky to escape prison having shown complete disregard for the original sentence.
“It’s good to see the court issuing a tough sentence.”