A driver who ran off after his vehicle was in collision with another car and who was described by magistrates as a ‘danger to the public’ has been sentenced to a community order, as a direct alternative to custody.

Jamie Halford, 27, of Russell Street, Keighley, left the scene of the accident, leaving his car - a Holden Cruze - in the middle of Keighley Road, Skipton, in the early afternoon of December 3, last year, heard Skipton Magistrates Court.

He was found by police officers in a nearby flat, unconscious and with fluid coming out of his mouth having drunk a bottle of vodka.

Two witnesses, the driver of the other vehicle, and a learner driver, described how they had gone to help Halford, but that he had got out of the car and run off , abandoning his car and running in an ‘unusual way’. They had followed Halford to some nearby flats where he had entered, and took a photograph before calling the police.

The court heard today (Tuesday) that Halford had been disqualified from driving five times before, between 2012 and 2017, and although his latest disqualification period had ended at the time of his latest offences, he had not passed the required extended re-test. He had a total of 28 previous convictions, covering 54 offences.

Halford admitted four driving offences, driving while disqualified, without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident, and without third party insurance. He also admitted to the possession of cocaine, a class A controlled drug.

Another charge, that he drove with a proportion of a controlled drug above the specified limit, and which he had denied, was withdrawn.

The court heard in mitigation that Halford, a father of two, had been in poor mental health at the time and had panicked immediately following the collision and had run because he knew he was disqualified.

He was now in secure accommodation in Keighley and was employed as a car valeter.

Magistrates, who told Halford they believed he represented a danger to the public, was given a community order of 24 months and banned from driving for five years. He will have to complete 120 hours unpaid work and up to 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He will also have to complete six months of drug rehabilitation, pay costs of £85, a surcharge of £85 and compensation of £300 to the owner of the car he collided with.

Following his period of disqualification, he will have to pass an extended re-test before he is allowed back on the roads.