A POWYS man has been spared a driving ban after he admitted driving while using a mobile phone, with magistrates agreeing his “whole life would collapse” if he was disqualified.

Matthew Peter Fergusson, 43, admitted a charge of using a mobile phone while driving when he appeared at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, August 17.

The offence relates to March 21 this year, when Fergusson, of Erwood Stores, Erwood, was driving a Mercedes Sprinter on the A40 near Crickhowell.

Fergusson was handed a no totting disqualification by magistrates and given 6 penalty points on his licence, as the bench found his case of exceptional hardship proved.

The court heard how the defendant suffered with significant financial difficulties, including facing a £90,000 tax bill, since splitting up with his ex-partner 7 years ago. He is a self-employed builder who works 7 days a week; he told magistrates his “whole life would collapse, not just his business” if he were to lose his licence.

He told the court he works alone and had been forced to lay off employees as he is in so much debt. He said without being able to drive he could not work and therefore would be unable to pay any fines.

He also told the hearing he shares custody of his daughter and that he requires his licence to take her to school when she lives with him.

In addition to the 6 points, Fergusson was fined £666 and must pay a £66 surcharge.