AN ‘IMMATURE and cowardly’ Powys man with an ‘unhealthy relationship with alcohol’ was spared jail despite driving while over the limit and fleeing police custody.

Jamie Whittall, of Criggion Lane, Trewern, was given consecutive three-month and one-month sentences – suspended for 12 months – for driving a Ford Transit while unfit through drink in Severn Street, Church Street and the A458 and escaping from police custody respectively on February 18, 2023.

Recorder Simon Mills heard at Mold Crown Court on Tuesday that the 31-year-old, who is a plumber, was stopped by police after his work transit van was spotted veering on the road by officers at around 11.45pm.


Whittall, who has a previous drink-driving conviction from April 2022, failed to provide a roadside sample on seven occasions before he eventually blew a reading of 79 microgrammes – twice the legal limit.

He had reportedly been to pick his partner up from the railway station.

But when asked to turn off the engine by officers, he jumped into the van and drove off before abandoning the vehicle and hiding from police in a nearby garden shed.

The defendant then surrendered himself to police around 15 hours later but only after speaking to his employers to confess his actions and to seek assurances over his future.

Despite not sending him to jail immediately, Recorder Mills did not hold back in his view of the defendant’s actions.

He said: “You were 31 years of age and now with three previous convictions – one for being in charge of a vehicle while unfit and now escaping police.

“What a shameful thing to do and you did that drunk and driving your work van.

“You made pathetic attempts to blow into the police breathalyser.

“You were having problems with your girlfriend but goodness knows how many more you’d have had if you’d had an accident.

“It’s staggering that you drove away from police – you should’ve just come out of the garden shed and handed yourself in.

“You have two alcohol-related convictions within a year and that tells me you are someone who shouldn’t be drinking.

“It’s time for you to stop for the rest of your life because who knows what you will do next time.

“You were driving a van while you were unlawfully at large – I bet you never thought a crown court judge would be saying that to you.

“You didn’t use violence but your behaviour was wicked and you did it to avoid a drink-driving conviction.

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“You hid like a coward in a garden shed but before you did that you were driving a vehicle while over the limit and that is the more serious offence for me.”

Whittall was given 25 per cent credit off his sentence for an early guilty plea but Recorder Mills banned him from the road for 16 months.

He was also given a 120-day monitoring requirement order and was told that if he drank any alcohol in that period, he would go to jail.

Whittall was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and 15 days rehabilitation activity and will pay costs of £720.