Disqualified driver escapes prison

AN expectant father who drove a car whilst disqualified from driving has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.

When Jamie Pilgrim, 33, of High Street, Bridlington, got behind the wheel of a car to drive to the shop for his pregnant partner he had a 24 week prison sentence suspended for two years hanging over his head in relation to a separate matter.

But instead of activating the suspended sentence magistrates hit Pilgrim with a hefty £1,150 fine.

Pilgrim pleaded guilty to driving whilst disqualified, and to a charge of driving without third party insurance, when he appeared at Bridlington Magistrates Court last Wednesday (August 31).

Heather Levett, prosecuting, told the court that Pilgrim received a two year driving ban on January 5 of this year after totting up points on his licence.

But at 8.30pm on August 16 police officers spotted Pilgrim driving a Rover MG ZS along Bempton Lane. He was stopped and arrested.

Defence solicitor Andrew Thompson told the court, in mitigation, that Pilgrim had completely changed his life around since moving to Bridlington from Leeds four years ago.

He had turned his hobby of breeding reptiles into a full-time profession after setting up his own business in the town.

The court heard that Pilgrim had been in a long-term relationship with his partner for the last two years and they were married in March, with them now expecting twins in January next year.

Mr Thompson said one of Pilgrim’s employees had left his car on his driveway and when his pregnant partner felt unwell he decided to use it to drive 200 yards to the shop to get her some tablets.

The court heard that Pilgrim was concerned about the impact the case would have on his wife and business.

“He’s very anxious, not for himself but because of the situation with his long-term partner, his wife, and her being pregnant and the child being due in January. He’s very nervous about that and also realises he’s put in jeopardy his business which he has been building up since 2007,” Mr Thompson said.

“He’s asked me to assure the court there’s no chance of it happening again,” he added.

But presiding magistrate Mike Bowman told Pilgrim that on this occasion they were not going to activate the suspended sentence.

Instead Pilgrim was fined £650 for driving while disqualified and £400 for driving without the correct insurance. His driving licence was also endorsed with six penalty points and he was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15, taking it to a total of £1,150.