A CHARD man who was caught driving while disqualified twice within five days has been handed a 20 month driving ban and ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.

Binman Michael Antony Edwards claimed he did not know he was a banned driver after being stopped by police in Yeovil on the first occasion.

However, when he was pulled over a second time after seen driving on the M5 on January 2 he confessed he had been stupid and impulsive, Somerset Magistrates were told.

Edwards, 25, of Manor Close, pleaded guilty to driving a Citroen Saxo on Furnham Road in Chard on December 29 last year.

He also admitted two similar offences on Summerfields Road in Chard on January 2 when he appeared before the court at Yeovil.

Prosecutor Emma Lenanton said that on the first occasion the police were on patrol in Coker Way in Chard just before 4.30pm when they saw a Citroen Saxo being driven by the defendant.

“As part of routine checks they discovered that Edwards was disqualified from driving after being given a 12 month ban on April 27 last year,” she said.

“He was reported for disqualified driving and driving without insurance and after he was arrested he was seen again by the police on the M5 on January 2 after receiving more information that the vehicle was being driven by a disqualified driver.

“Edwards was found to be the driver and was the only occupant in the vehicle and he was later stopped in Summerfield Road in Chard.”

When the defendant was interviewed for both matters he admitted the offences.

The court was told that he had been banned from driving last year after his second offence under the totting up procedure for various motoring offences.

Defending solicitor Neil Priest said that Edwards did not know in good faith that he was disqualified when he was stopped by the police on the first occasion.

He said: “It would appear that the disqualification was imposed in his absence and he did not receive confirmation about that.

“However, he has no case to answer with regard to the second set of offences.

“He said he was stupid and impulsive and was not really thinking, but the second time he obviously did know he was disqualified.”

Alongside the driving ban the magistrates sentenced Edwards to a 12 month community order with the unpaid work for the two counts of disqualified driving and also ordered him to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

No separate penalty was imposed for the two insurance offences.