Banned rugby player drove for painkillers
A RUGBY player drove his car days after being banned because he needed painkillers because of a playing injury.
Neil Thomas, aged 34, a semi-professional rugby player, had received a driving ban on August 1 from magistrates sitting in Llanelli.
Then, on August 9 he was stopped while driving on Peniel Green Road in Swansea.
When the police officer asked him why he was driving, Thomas said he had been to Asda to buy painkillers.
Thomas initially gave officers a false name and date of birth. Prosecutor Anwen Evans told city magistrates: “Checks were made on the police computer and no licence was found but it was then established the car was registered to Neil Thomas. The police officer challenged him and he then admitted his real name.”
In his police interview, he admitted knowing he was disqualified from driving.
Thomas later admitted driving without insurance and while disqualified.
Giles Hayes, for Thomas, said: “When stopped by the police officer, he clearly panicked and provided false details.
“Clearly you will be concerned he was driving while disqualified so soon after disqualification,” he added.
Mr Hayes said Thomas, of Midland Road, Llansamlet, had previously been banned four times but said they were when he was playing rugby and were incidents related to his playing days.
“He has been a semi-professional rugby player but he’s had a nasty fracture from his wrist to elbow and as a result he still suffers pain and discomfort. On this occasion, he decided to go to Asda to look for some medication,” said Mr Hayes.
Probation officer Fred Matthews who prepared a pre-sentence report on Thomas, said Thomas had told him plates and nine pins had been fitted in his arm.
Mr Matthews said Thomas had needed to go back to work and had been taking Paracetamol to allow him to do so.
“He had been awake throughout the night in pain and he couldn’t take it anymore so he decided to go to a local supermarket to stock up on some Paracetamol so he would be able to fulfil his obligations of employment the following morning,” said Mr Matthews.
Magistrates imposed a four montth sentence for the new offences but agreed to suspend it for 12 months.
Chairman of the bench Anthony Davies said: “This is the last chance saloon. You do it again and you go to jail.”