9:17am Thursday 4th April 2013
A DISQUALIFIED elderly driver who was caught behind the wheel while he was out buying food for his poorly wife, has had his driving ban extended by two years.
John Pilling, aged 75, was reported to police after an Asda employee recognised the defendant as being a “local character” and knew he was not supposed to be driving.
The employee saw him driving his Renault Laguna in Brackley Street, Farnworth, on March 26 — a month after he was given a three-year ban for drink-driving.
Pilling had gone out to look for his wife, who sufferers from Alzheimer’s disease, when she went missing from his 75th birthday party.
The retired HGV driver, who lives in Glenbrook Gardens, Farnworth, was previously given another three-year ban in 2009.
Nicola Ormerod, prosecuting, said that in the latest incident Pilling told police he knew he was disqualified until 2016 and normally got a taxi to do his shopping but “forgot” about the ban.
Adam Whittaker, defending Pilling, said: “His wife was having a particularly bad day. She was demanding he go and buy the items.
“She was shouting at the vehicles outside and throwing the keys at him. Stupidly he went out.
“He is known in Farnworth not because he is a troublemaker but because he is a local character.”
He said Pilling, who used a walking stick in court, sufferers from diabetes and has had pneumonia twice.
He said he had recently suffered a bad fall in which he injured his ribs and wrist.
Mr Whittaker persuaded magistrates not to remove Pilling’s car from him, as the keys are now with his son-in-law in Bromley Cross, and to allow him to sell it to help pay off the court fines.
He said Pilling is unlikely to get his licence back due to his health problems and age.
Pilling admitted driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
He was given a five-year ban, to run concurrently with his current ban, as well as being fined £250 and ordered to pay £85 costs with a £25 victim surcharge.
The pensioner told magistrates he knew the offences were serious and said he would probably be “in the graveyard” by the time the ban expired.
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