A DISQUALIFIED driver was twice caught behind the wheel, the first time less than four months after he had been banned.

Blackburn magistrates heard when Mohammed Malik was stopped in September he failed to provide a breath sample which was requested because his speech was slurred, his eyes were glazed and his pupils dilated.

Malik, 21, of Bastwell Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen and driving while disqualified and without insurance in September and driving while disqualified and without insurance in November. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months. He was made subject to a community order for 18 months with 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and £122 victim surcharge. He was banned from driving for 48 months.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said in September officers saw Malik driving erratically before entering the McDonald’s drive-thru at Whitebirk.

When he was asked to provide a sample he said he was a heavy smoker and was suffering from tonsillitis.

On the second occasion he abandoned his car in Logwood Street but CCTV footage from the town centre showed him getting into the car and driving off.

Alex Rostron, defending, said his client had no previous convictions prior to the offence in May which led to an 18-month ban. He said the defendant’s sister had died in tragic circumstances and Malik had “gone off the rails. He was drinking as a way of coping and kept his first conviction from his family,” said Mr Rostron.

Suspending the prison sentence the chairman of the magistrates said they appreciated the tragedy Malik had gone through.