Burnley car crook sped away from police two day after release from jail

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A career car crook who celebrated his release from jail with more crime has avoided being sent back.

Michael Ben Royal had been "over- excited" at winning his freedom. Just two days after he got out, he borrowed a Vauxhall Corsa - despite being banned - and sped away from police in Burnley.

They decided a chase would have been too risky because the area was busy, a hearing was told.

Royal, who was subject to a 12-hours a day home detention curfew from the sentence at the time, had not been recalled by the probation service after the incident on August 6th. He is tagged to his mum's address until September 18th.

His luck was still in when he appeared before magistrates in the town, as they didn't lock him up either.

The 27-year-old had been ordered off the road for 22 months and told to take a mandatory re-test, for dangerous driving in November 2015. He hasn't taken it, so is still banned.

Sentencing him to the maximum of 20 months in prison at the time, a judge had described his driving record as "truly horrendous".

Judge Beverley Lunt had told him: "The only way to keep the public safe from you is to keep you in prison for as long as possible."

Jobless mechanic Royal now has 10 offences of driving whilst disqualified on his record, one for dangerous driving, 13 for no insurance, two for aggravated vehicle taking, two for driving without due care and attention, three for failing to stop, four for no licence, one for handling stolen goods in relation to a car and one for allowing himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle.

Also a convicted burglar, he had been sent to prison for 16 months in February.

Prosecuting in the latest case, Alex Mann said it was "yet another driving whilst disqualified".

Mrs Mann said at 6-30pm, police in a residential area of Burnley town centre recognised the defendant at the wheel and followed him down a rear alley.

She continued: "He got out of the car, opened the alley gate, squeezed through the gap he created and put his foot down to get away. There were a lot of people around and officers decided it wasn't prudent to start a police chase."

Nick Dearing, defending, said Royal didn't remain at the scene, but attended the station when police asked him to.

The solicitor said the defendant had been over-excited with his freedom and borrowed a car. Since then, he had kept his appointments with the probation service.

Mr Dearing continued: "Hopefully at some point he will grow out of this stupidity. Certainly, his girlfriend won't stand by him forever. He does have the capacity to become a lawful member of society if he sets his mind to it."

The Bench gave Royal a 12-month community order, with 80 hours unpaid work. He received six points and was told to pay £170 in victim surcharge and costs.

Sentencing, the chairman said the defendant had been a risk to the public. He added: "You were very close today to custody again."

Royal, of Pembroke Street, Burnley, admitted driving whilst disqualified in Colbran Street in the town, no insurance and failing to stop.