The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
°C | 11°C
22°C | 13°C
20°C | 10°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Sittingbourne News Article
A thieving motorist is driving around Herne Bay with a staggering 54 penalty points on his licence.
And yet jobless dad-of-two Keith Baldock, 34, is at the wheel of his van legally.
Despite the Road Traffic Act requiring a driver to have their licence seized at 12 points, Baldock has managed to avoid a ban.
Now he is believed to top the list of Britain's motorists with the most points, but still allowed to drive.
In November, Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl slapped 30 points on Baldock's licence – but allowed him to keep driving "to look for a job".
It was only then the DVLA realised Baldock, of Thornden Wood Road, already had 24 points before last November's 30 points were added.
"I think at the earlier hearing that he was not disqualified, but in fact he should have been disqualified unless there was exceptional hardship. Unfortunately there is not a great deal we can do about it now..." - prosecutor Francis Lloyd
Bosses wrote to Canterbury Crown Court asking for it to review its decision not to ban Baldock from the road, but the appeal came too late to make any changes.
Prosecutor Francis Lloyd told Judge Van Der Bijl that under legislation there was nothing that could be done to impose a retrospective ban.
He said: "I think at the earlier hearing that he was not disqualified, but in fact he should have been disqualified unless there was exceptional hardship. Unfortunately there is not a great deal we can do about it now."
Mr Lloyd said "any variation in the substance" of a sentence had to be done within 56 days, adding: "We are well past that time."
The prosecutor said: "He is a lucky fella."
Judge Van Der Bijl replied: "A lucky man indeed. Case closed."
At last year's hearing, the court was told how Baldock had gone from garage to garage in Canterbury, Barham, Herne Bay and Margate stealing £500 of fuel in an uninsured car.
But, despite hitting him with six points for each of five offences, Judge Van Der Bijl allowed the jobless father to continue driving.
He said: "I am making no order for disqualification because if he is looking for work he will need a car."
Baldock had pleaded guilty to thefts from garages in High Street, Herne Bay, Dover Road, Barham, two in Sturry Road, Canterbury, and another in Margate.
Baldock claimed he had his Jobseekers' Allowance stopped and turned to stealing "out of desperation" to feed his family.
He was given a 12-month supervision order, a two-month curfew order and told to repay the money within a year.
DVLA spokesman Karen Powell said after the case: "While we're not prepared to comment on this specific case, I can confirm that we routinely contact courts when notified that a driver has accumulated more than 12 points but has not been disqualified from driving.
"It is for the court to decide whether to reopen the case."
Click here for more news from Canterbury.
Click here for more news from around the county.