A 24-year-man is this week starting a seven month jail term for perverting the course of justice and several motoring offences – after blaming his misdeeds on his best friend.
Martin Ballantyne, from The Alders, Garstang, gave police his innocent pal’s details after being pulled up for drink-driving and having no insurance.
He then pleaded guilty to the crimes at Preston Magistrates Court pretending to be 22-year-old Rich Walmsley but was foiled after paperwork arrived at his friend’s Catterall home.
Rich said he was “astonished” at being disqualified from driving as well as being asked to pay fines and quickly made police aware he had no knowledge of the crimes being alleged against him.
The electrician told Garstang officers that Ballantyne had said his car had been stolen but when police found no record they quickly tracked the crimes to the 24-year-old.
Ballantyne was charged with the offences but failed to appear at Preston Crown Court on a number of occasions prompting a warrant for his arrest.
He was finally arrested on September 30 and remanded to prison for sentencing on October 7.
Ballantyne will now spend seven months in HM Prison Preston and Rich says he can’t believe his ex-best friend could be so “untrustworthy”.
He said: “I saw him a few days after he was pulled over and all he said was that his car had been stolen.
“I didn’t hear anything else about it until I got a letter in the post saying I’d been disqualified from driving and had to pay some fines. I was so stressed because I knew nothing about it.
“I rang the police and they said I would be fine to drive but I was too scared because I still didn’t have my driving licence.
“Speaking to police, the story didn’t add up and they eventually arrested Martin.
“It took me weeks to get my licence back. We haven’t spoken properly since it happened and we won’t be speaking again. We used to be best friends but I can’t believe he would do this.
“There’s jokes and then there’s this – it’s gone way beyond the line.”
Ballantyne was pulled over on January 19 this year.
A statement on the Garstang and Over Wyre Police Facebook page said: “The case has now been finalised with Ballantyne being kept at HMP’s pleasure.
“Please let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to be dishonest towards the Criminal Justice System.”