Schizophrenic criminal caught stealing Ford Focus

The defendant was banned from driving for 17 months.
The defendant was banned from driving for 17 months.
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A schizophrenic drug-user has been banned from driving for 17 months after being spotted struggling to manoeuvre a stolen Ford Focus in a back street, a court has heard.

Long-time criminal Stuart David Brown (39), who had 2.72 grammes of amphetamine on his person, was arrested as he stumbled out of the damaged vehicle on October 4th of last year.

The defendant, of Kime Street in Burnley, had - just hours before - stuffed a bag of cannabis in his mouth when police had tried to detain him at just after midnight in a separate incident. He eventually spat it out and was taken to hospital in case he had overdosed.

Burnley magistrates were told how Brown, a provisional licence holder with a long record, is on medication for "significant mental health issues" and must now pay £640 at £5-a-week out of his benefits - a total of £525, with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge and was banned for 17 months.

The charges were handed out after the defendant admitted to possessing cannabis and amphetamine, driving whilst unfit through drugs, not having insurance, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence on Franklin Street in Burnley.

Prosecutor, Miss Parveen Akhtar, said that at 7am, last October 4th, police were told that a Ford Focus had been stolen by Brown, with officers finding it parked on a back street. She continued: "They drove up and saw he was in the driver's seat, trying to manoeuvre the vehicle and was struggling."

Mr Mark Williams, representing Mr Brown, said that it might have been the case that some of the drugs from October 3rd were still in his system the day after and that the owner of the Focus, who did not wish to make a complaint, was with him.

The solicitor continued: "[As for] just why it was reported as being stolen, he is at a loss."

Mr Williams said the defendant was on 'fairly serious medication' that had been properly prescribed to him for mental health issues, particularly schizophrenia. Despite having a long record, Brown had been out of trouble since August 2014, with the solicitor adding: "He hasn't actually driven anywhere on this occasion."