A judge has said that a County Down man caught driving while banned “has one of the worst records I have ever seen”.
Downpatrick Crown Court heard that garden furniture maker Alexander Devenney has 322 previous convictions, 209 of which were motoring offences.
The 42-year-old, of Main Road, Portavogie, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, having no insurance and obstructing police.
He had previously been banned from driving until 2032.
Prosecution lawyer David McClean said that on 9 June police on patrol in Ballyhalbert observed a Ford Ka vehicle being driven in High Street and a check revealed the car was not insured and had a statutory off-road notice (SORN).
Officers spoke to the driver who gave a false name and address. He claimed he had motor trade insurance for the car and was given seven days to produce his insurance documents.
Mr McClean said further police checks revealed the driver’s real identity and the fact that he was the subject of numerous driving disqualifications.
The following day he was seen again by police and was cautioned.
The court heard that at interview, Devenney gave his real name and admitted he was a banned driver and “apologised” for his offences.
Defence barrister Sean Devine said Devenney “stupidly” decided that night to drive to the next village to top up an electricity card for a friend who was cooking food for a child.
The court was told that the car has since been sold and is now being used in “demolition derby” racing.
As Devenney is currently the subject of a three-year probation order for other motoring offences, he was handed a 15-month sentence suspended for three years for driving while disqualified and received concurrent sentences of six months and four months respectively for obstructing police and having no insurance.
He was also given a driving ban for four years.
Judge Miller warned Devenney said: “Be under no illusions that any breach of this order resulting in further conviction and these matter will brought back before this court and these sentences will be activated consecutively.”
However, the judge added that he hoped that through his business venture Devenney could “find a way forward by making a useful contribution to society without appearing on a regular basis before the courts”.