Banned driver caught at wheel of dangerously overweight van

A14 at Risby

The van was pulled over on the A14 at Risby - Credit: Google

A scaffolder has been ordered to carry out unpaid work for driving a dangerously overloaded van while disqualified and not wearing a seatbelt.

Keith Bowman was pulled over on the A14 at Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, by Suffolk Constabulary's commercial vehicle unit, just before 2.30pm on January 21.

The 27-year-old was driving a Volkswagen Crafter with two passengers, an unsecured load and "bulging tyres", Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard.

Bowman was also driving the van without a seatbelt and with the rear door open, while carrying unsecured ladders, metal poles, wooden planks, buckets and tools. 

The van was later found to have exceeded its maximum weight limit of 3,300kg by 31%.

Its front axle, rear axle and rear tyres were also found to have been overloaded, while further enquires established that Bowman was uninsured and had been banned from driving last December for an excess alcohol offence.

Bowman, of Snowdon Court, Haverhill, appeared at court on Tuesday to admit driving while disqualified and without insurance, not wearing a seat belt, using a vehicle when the maximum permitted laden weight was exceeded by was exceeded by 1,104kg and using a vehicle when the gross axle weight, as shown on the manufacturers plate, was exceeded by 23% and 14%.

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He also pleaded guilty to using a vehicle or trailer in a condition likely to cause danger of injury because the rear tyres were overloaded and using a vehicle or trailer likely to cause danger of injury due to the weight, position, distribution or security of its load.

Bowman told police he had been driving between Cambridge and the other side of Bury St Edmunds because his two workmates were asleep and incapable of taking the wheel.

Jeremy Kendall, mitigating, said Bowman was concerned by the intended driver being tired from the previous night and had "foolishly" offered to drive.

"As far as the law is concerned, being the driver, he was liable for the condition of the van," added Mr Kendall, who described Bowman as a skilled scaffolder, who was fit and able to complete unpaid work in the community.   

Bowman was banned from driving for another 14 months, handed a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and fined a total of £517.

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