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'Desperate' disqualified driver 'incredibly silly' to use vehicles for income

PUBLISHED: 12:01 05 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 06 January 2019

Rhys McCarthy appeared in custody at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich  Picture: ARCHANT

Rhys McCarthy appeared in custody at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

A banned motorist was caught driving a parcel delivery van and a sports car within weeks of being disqualified.

Rhys McCarthy, 21, was due to face Norwich magistrates next Tuesday charged with driving a Mercedes Sprinter van in the city’s Riverside Road on December 15, after being banned for six months in November for ‘totting up’ points.

But he was promptly brought before Ipswich magistrates in custody on Friday after being caught behind the wheel of an uninsured sports car on the A12 at Martlesham the previous evening.

McCarthy, formerly of Stowmarket but now of no fixed address, was on bail for the previous charge and subject to a community order when stopped in an Audi TT at about 9.20pm, revealed prosecutor Colette Harper.

Jeremy Kendall, mitigating, said McCarthy had been a man of good character until leaving home in October 2017.

“Since then, he has been sofa-surfing, with no stable accommodation apart from a brief period in a Diss hostel,” he added.

“He rapidly went from a responsible, working young man to using vehicles as a means of refuge and a safe place to store his belongings.

“He turned an interest in vehicles into a way of making money by buying and selling them. He bought the Audi for £400 with an agreement to sell it for £800.

“In trying to get a job, he showed a rare degree of naivety by choosing to drive a delivery van, thinking the disqualification only applied to a certain classification of vehicle.

“He has been incredibly silly, but this young man would benefit from someone pointing him in the right direction.

“His actions seem foolhardy, but on the other hand, he was someone trying to get his life back on track.”

McCarthy was sentenced to a year in jail, suspended for 12 weeks, and disqualified from driving for a further 18 months.

Magistrates revoked his previous community order, which included 100 hours of unpaid work they deemed unserviceable for someone without fixed accommodation, replacing it with a requirement to attend 20 hours of rehabilitation activity requirement.

Before leaving court, he told magistrates: “I found myself in a desperate situation.”

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