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Banned driver James Banks, from Hartley, jailed after crashing car and reporting it stolen

A property developer crashed his car while banned from driving and then reported it had been stolen in a burglary at his £750,000 home, a court heard.

But James Banks’ story soon unravelled after his DNA was found all over the driver’s airbag of the Vauxhall Corsa that hit a parked car.

Now the 40-year-old married father, of Manor Drive, Hartley, has been jailed for a year and given a further ban of three years from his release.

James Banks. Picture: Kent Police.
James Banks. Picture: Kent Police.

Maidstone Crown Court heard a woman had left her Land Rover outside her home in Church Road, Hartley, on July 9 and was awoken by a loud bang late at night.

She looked out of the window and saw that the Corsa had smashed into the rear of her car.

She went out to ask the driver if he was alright. He said he had not seen her car and then walked off while using his phone.

Prosecutor Claire Cooper said the woman called the police and gave a very accurate description of the driver.

The next morning Banks, who four months earlier had been disqualified for 40 months for his second drink-drive offence, called the police claiming the keys to his car had been stolen in a burglary.

Judge Adele Williams
Judge Adele Williams

Miss Cooper said officers became suspicious after checking his record. He was arrested for perverting the course of justice and dangerous driving after his DNA was found on the airbag.

In March, he had driven to a police station to report he had been drinking all through the day and was a disqualified driver. He also said he was suicidal.

Banks was breath-tested and found to be over the limit. He was given a suspended sentence of eight weeks.

Judge Adele Williams asked: “What is the underlying problem, apart from an inability to stop drinking?”

Siobhan Molloy, defending, said Banks had been diagnosed with an “adjustment disorder”, suffered from anxiety and depression and had taken overdoses.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

“He shouldn’t have been driving that night,” said Miss Molloy. “He had no insurance. It was only ever going to come back on him.”

Banks, who has four daughters, was £27,500 in arrears with his £300,000 mortgage. It was hoped the house would not be repossessed, added Miss Molloy.

Banks, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to eight months for the perverting offence and four months consecutive for dangerous driving.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Natalie Sammells said: "Banks wanted us to believe his car had been in a collision after it was stolen by burglars, but it didn’t take long to work out he had lied to cover up his own offences.

"We are committed to tackling domestic burglaries and Banks has wasted valuable police time which could have been put to better use investigating genuine crimes. It is therefore only right that he is now starting a prison sentence."

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