One of Britain's worst drivers has finally been jailed after being convicted of driving while disqualified FIFTY-FOUR times.
Anthony Marland has been given a four-month sentence - believed to be his first period behind bars - after a judge told him: "This is one of the worst records of driving I have ever seen."
But the number of offences it took to land him behind bars has been slammed as 'ridiculous' by road safety campaigners.
Marland, 39, of Ashton under Lyne, pleaded guilty to the latest in a long line of motoring offences after being caught by police last month.
He claimed he was driving to visit his partner, who he said was undergoing treatment for cancer at Manchester's Christie Hospital.
One of the officers recognised him and confirmed he was a disqualified driver after checking the national database.
Nicoletto Amatino, prosecuting at Manchester Crown Court, said: "The defendant was seen driving in Ashton under Lyne by police.
"The officer recognised the defendant, carried out a PNC check and found out that the defendant was a disqualified driver.
"His records show a considerable history for similar offences, a total of 53 convictions of driving when disqualified.
"A suspended sentence has been given in the past and also a community order, which was broken and replaced by the suspended sentence."
Marland pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
He was banned from driving for a further two years and his licence was endorsed.
Judge Andrew Lowcock told him: "This is one of the worst records of driving I have ever seen. Court orders don't seem to mean anything to you.
"You tell the probation officers that you were driving to see your partner who was in hospital.
"Whether or not this is true I do not know, but it is no excuse for you to drive a car again. In light of your record I think that in this case a custodial sentence is justified. This is due to your continual flouting of court orders."
Road safety campaigners welcomed the decision but said Marland should have been jailed earlier.
Cathy Keeler, from road safety charity Brake, said: "It is ridiculous it has taken 54 offences to land him in jail.
"When somebody so blatantly disregards laws which are there to protect public safety and insists on putting other road users at risk by driving without a valid licence, jail is the only option."
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