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Learner driver drove illegally to go fishing with friends

The outside of Tain Sheriff court.
The learner driver admitted he drove illegally at Tain Sheriff Court.

A 17-year-old teenage learner driver who was let down by his lift drove illegally rather than miss out on a fishing trip with friends.

Sam Stuart’s car drew police attention with its “excessive revving and screeching” as he tried to drive it on Firhill in Alness.

But when they turned on their blue lights to stop him, he sped off, causing the front wheels to spin.

Stuart, now 18, appeared at Tain Sheriff Court, where he admitted driving without due care and attention.

The charge detailed that he did this by failing to keep proper control of the vehicle by excessively pressing down the accelerator pedal and failing to maintain a proper control of the clutch. He also failed to stop when indicated to do so by police officers.

He also travelled at grossly excessive speeds for the road and road conditions.

The learner also pled guilty to a charge that he drove the car without valid insurance.

Fiscal depute Hilary Michopoulou told the court that the incident occurred on the evening of February 16 last year.

Learner driver had ‘difficulty controlling car’

She said: “Police were on uniformed mobile patrol and noticed an older style silver Vauxhall progressing up hill at speed.

“They heard excessive revving and screeching and it became apparent to police that the driver was having difficulty controlling the car.”

Officers decided to stop the vehicle but when they activated their blue lights “the accused accelerated harshly causing the front wheels to wheel spin.”

As he drove off he travelled “grossly in excess of the speed limit” whilst failing to stop for police.

Teenager admitted he drove illegally

He was traced later the same day and admitted he had been driving the vehicle, which was also uninsured.

Solicitor Rory Gowans said his client had a provisional licence and only drove so as not to miss out on a planned trip with friends.

“He and some friends had decided to go fishing and the lift fell through,” he said.

“His inability to drive attracted the attention of the police officers – he panicked and tried to make good his escape.”

Mr Gowan said Stuart was “not proud of” his actions saying: “He concedes that it was an entirely foolish thing to do.  He wishes to convey his unreserved apologies.”

Sheriff Gary Aitken said: “This is driving well towards the upper end of the careless driving class and you have received a fixed penalty for doing something similar only months before.

“You are clearly not someone who can be trusted behind the wheel of a car.”

He fined Stuart of Perrins Road, Alness, £640 and banned him from the roads for nine months.

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