A HOMELESS woman who allowed her partner to drive her car as a getaway vehicle when she was being challenged by shop staff over an incident knew he was not insured and was only a learner driver.

Lynsey Rebecca Vincent became involved in a physical altercation with staff outside the Boots store in Market Street, Crewkerne, and was unable to get away.

However her partner, who was in a car outside, got out and helped her to break free from those holding her.

The defendant then got into the passenger seat while the male drove them both away from the scene.

Vincent, 34, of no fixed address, was charged that on November 18 last year at Crewkerne she permitted Gareth Russell to use a motor vehicle on Market Street in Crewkerne without insurance.

She was also alleged to have knowingly permitted him to use the vehicle without insurance on the same date.

Vincent pleaded not guilty to both offences at a previous appearance before Somerset Magistrates, sitting at Yeovil, and was ordered to stand trial.

However when she failed to turn up at court on the day of the hearing the prosecution made an application for the case to be heard in the defendant’s absence.

Prosecutor Ben Winzar said that on the day in question Vincent was trying to leave Boots in Crewkerne at 4.15pm when she was challenged by staff.

“A male accomplice, Gareth Russell, then got out of a car and grabbed hold of the defendant and she managed to break free from the people at the shop,” he said.

“She ran to the vehicle and got into the passenger seat and Mr Russell got into the driver’s seat and drove away, which was all caught on CCTV.”

A police officer later attended and identified Vincent and her partner from the video footage and further checks revealed the car was registered to the defendant and she was the only person insured to drive it.

Mr Winzar said that Mr Russell was only a provisional licence holder and from the CCTV evidence Vincent had clearly permitted him to drive her vehicle without insurance or a licence.

A police officer, who gave evidence to the court, said that he had identified Vincent and her partner from the CCTV and confirmed that after Mr Russell had gone over to the struggle with Miss Vincent and members of staff she managed to break free and they left in her car with him driving.

“She clearly allowed Mr Russell to drive the vehicle when he did not have the insurance or a licence to do so,” added Mr Winzar.

The magistrates found the case proved in Vincent’s absence during the morning trial, however the defendant turned up at court later in the day and was then sentenced.

Defending solicitor Neil Priest said that Vincent was currently homeless, sleeping rough and found herself in “fairly dire circumstances”.

He said: “The car that was subject to these proceedings has now been scrapped, she receives Universal Credit of £249 a month and her life is extremely difficult.

“She now wants this matter dealt with as she doesn’t want anything hanging over her.”

Vincent was fined £60 and her licence endorsed with six penalty points for the insurance offence.

No separate penalty was imposed for the licence matter but she was also ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge. No costs were imposed due to her limited means.