Banned Polish trucker 'shocked' to be pulled over

A Polish trucker at the wheel whilst banned was caught after he drove an articulated lorry from Spalding to Burnley, a court heard.

The defendant had been banned for six monthsuntil April.
The defendant had been banned for six monthsuntil April.

Rafal Garbarczyk (53) who lives in Peterborough, says he has worked for the same firm as a long distance lorry driver for nine years, but insists he knows no English at all. He claimed he had no idea he had been ordered off the road and was "shocked" when police pulled him over in the Scania HGV on Accrington Road after the near 150-mile journey from Lincolnshire.

Burnley magistrates were told how Garbarczyk had been banned for six months until April, under the totting up procedure. The defendant, who had the court proceedings translated to him by and spoke through a Polish interpreter, is no longer working after the incident almost three weeks ago.

Garbarczyk, of Somerby Garth in Peterborough, admitted driving whilst disqualified and having no insurance on January 13th. He had no previous convictions.

The court was told the defendant was banned last October 13th after being convicted of having defective tyres, speeding, and failing to give information. Asked by the court legal adviser if that sounded like his driving record, he replied: "Yes."

Prosecutor Andrew Robinson told the hearing the defendant was stopped by police after they did a check which showed he had been disqualified. Garbarczyk said he was "shocked" to find out. Mr Robinson continued: "He said his employer had not told him. He didn't know. He had not been to court."

Asked by the legal adviser if he had anything to say, the defendant replied: "I don't know what to say."

He then said: "I was not aware I was banned at that time and driving was my profession. That's the way I earned my living." The defendant, who said he was self-employed and worked through an agency, was looking for work, the court heard.

A probation officer who interviewed Garbarczyk told the hearing that had the defendant known he was banned, he would not under any circumstances have driven. He was hopeful of finding work within the next few days with the help of friends and agencies.

The defendant was given six weeks in custody, suspended for a year, and must pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. He received six points on his licence.