AN Ilminster man who was given a suspended prison sentence for an offence of dangerous driving put his liberty at risk after being caught at the wheel while still subject to a driving ban.

Ray Baker popped out into Ilminster town centre to buy some nappies for his newborn twins when he was spotted by a police officer on patrol.

Checks revealed the only person insured to drive the vehicle he was in was a female, and when he was pulled over he admitted he was disqualified.

The 20-year-old defendant, of Blackdown View, pleaded guilty to driving a Vauxhall Zafira in East Street, Ilminster, while disqualified and without insurance on September 15 last year.

He also admitted being in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed at Taunton Crown Court in February 2017 for offences of dangerous driving, no insurance and no licence.

Somerset Magistrates, sitting at Yeovil, were told that on the day in question a police officer was on duty in Ilminster at 5.45pm when Baker was seen leaving the street where he lived and driving into the town centre.

“The police officer followed him in a Vauxhall Zafira and when the defendant stopped he got out and he asked to speak to Baker,” said prosecutor Emma Lenanton.

“Checks revealed that the only insured party for that vehicle was a female and further checks showed the defendant was disqualified from driving until an extended retest was passed.”

She said the disqualification had expired in November 2018 but was still active when the offences were committed.

As a result he had also put himself in breach of the suspended sentence order.

Defending solicitor Joseph Wright said that Baker had only driven a very short distance and the suspended sentence had now expired.

“His partner had just had twins and my client had just popped out to buy some nappies and I am not sure it was made clear to my client when he was given the disqualification that he needed to take an extended retest,” he said.

“He has now got a job and is keen to get back driving legally again but accepts it was a stupid thing to do to get into the car. He said he was just helping his partner out.”

For driving while disqualified the magistrates gave the defendant a further three month driving ban and fined him £276 with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

No separate penalty was imposed for the insurance offence but the magistrates said the crown court would now be notified of the breach of the suspended sentence order and the judge would make a decision in due course to see if it would be implemented or not.