Motorist who claimed car was stolen caught out by his own saliva

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A 60-year-old man who crashed his car after falling asleep reported it stolen - but was caught out by his saliva on the airbag, a court heard.

Michael Green, who was on medication for depression, walked into Burnley Police Station and lied, telling officers his Volkswagen Passat had been stolen. He owned up after the airbag was examined and said he had panicked.

Miss Parveen Akhtar (prosecuting) told Burnley magistrates that Green had informed police he must have nodded off and believed at the time making the false report was the right thing to do.

The defendant, of Humphrey Street, Colne, admitted causing wasteful employment of police and driving without due care and attention, on February 5th.

Green, who already has six points on his licence, was given five more and was fined £100, with a £30 victim surcharge. If he gets one more point, he faces being banned.

Miss Akhtar told the hearing: "At 5am the vehicle was located on Halifax Road, Nelson, with accident damage. Five hours later, he went to Burnley police station and reported his vehicle as having been stolen. His saliva was located on the airbag. That suggested he was driving at the time of the accident."

Mr Daniel Frazer (defending) said Green had battled with his mental health for quite some time. He was on medication and having counselling.

The defendant, who was on employment and support allowance, had managed to keep himself on the straight and narrow, after getting in trouble several years ago, but it was a constant fight.

Mr Frazer said Green had woken up in the morning and had a limited recollection of what went on. He said: "He wants to move on from today and start afresh again."

The solicitor said the defendant had been looking for work and had a chance of employment as a fork lift truck driver. Green had been doing voluntary work.