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Pilgrim's Retreat caravan park boss Maurice 'Fred' Sines banned from driving after Rolls Royce Phantom police chase after PGA golf tournament

A businessman who gave police the slip in his £405,000 Rolls Royce Phantom said he told his chauffeur not to stop because he was having sex in the back seat with a woman who was not his wife, a court heard.

Maurice 'Fred' Sines, who owns a string of lucrative caravan parks including Pilgrims Retreat near Hollingbourne, took police on a chase from the PGA golf tournament through the nearby exclusive Wentworth Estate.

Maurice 'Fred' Sines
Maurice 'Fred' Sines

During the chase his car drove on the wrong side of the road, went the wrong way around a roundabout, hit speeds of 60mph on 30mph roads, and narrowly dodged a head-on crash.

His car was found abandoned nearby shortly after the pursuit had to come to and end because of problems with police radio.

When officers finally caught up with him he admitted he was in the car but being driven by a chauffeur who he ordered not to stop because he had “a bird in the back...” - and claimed he didn’t want to be caught because he had recently got back with his wife.

However when his case came to trial he was shown CCTV of him getting into the car at the PGA tournament and he admitted he had been driving while disqualified and changed his plea to guilty.

The 57-year-old was handed an eight-month sentence suspended for two years.

“He said that he had ‘a bird in the back having a ****’ and told his driver not to stop because he did not want to be caught in that situation..."

He had faced up to two years behind bars following the incident in Virginia Water, Surrey in May 2018.

Guildford Crown Court heard there had been complaints about his behaviour earlier in the day and police had arrived at the tournament to see him leaving.

Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer said: “He was estranged from his wife for a number of years and had been back with her for about a week.

“He said that he had ‘a bird in the back having a ****’ and told his driver not to stop because he did not want to be caught in that situation."

Today, Sines was not only handed a suspended sentence but slapped with a two-year driving ban, a three-month tagged curfew, ordered to pay a £5,000 penalty and £4,200 in court costs.

He had admitted a charge of dangerous driving.

Judge Robert Fraser said: “You have been remarkably foolish for somebody of your years in life and experiences in life to have done what you did - that is an act of extreme foolhardiness and danger to other road users.

“The police were alerted, they went to the golf club and there followed the police operation, tracking your car’s movements.

“You went back to your house, you were driving back into you driveway, and spotted the police car and, of course, disappeared off at speed.

“You then abandoned the vehicle and arrange for yourself to be collected by members of your family.

“You were denying you were driving and put forward what was clearly and utterly a false account.

“Obviously, you did plead guilty at an extremely late stage when you had seen that further CCTV which made it perfectly clear to everyone else what you were saying about the identity of a driver was a lie."

“You have been remarkably foolish for somebody of your years in life..."

The court heard how Sines would be severely affected by the sentence as he alone managed and supervised the various caravan sites in the home counties and also helped care for his grandson who currently must be fed through a tube following a colitis operation.

Judge Fraser continued: “I take into account your health and read the many number of letters from organisations and charities as to your generosity.

“One of the two key aggravating factors is the fact that you drove off at speed for an obvious reason - you didn’t want to be caught.

"Clearly this passes the custody threshold, I cannot avoid that. Because of your approach to this, because of your motive, this has gone on for a very long time thereafter because of the false story you put in place.

“There are many factors which could cause me to think very carefully about suspending the sentence."

Stephen Pownall, mitigating, told the court: “The greatest punishment is going to be his inability to drive car for a significant period of time.

“He is a self-made man. He has as you have seen provided significant sums to charities and given his time and his resources.

“He travels 2,000 miles a week because the sites he and others own which he supervises are in the home counties and he has to visit them and any days he is unable to do are going to have an effect on the success of his business because others can't take the important decisions and supervise.”

Pilgrims Retreat in Ringlestone, near Maidstone
Pilgrims Retreat in Ringlestone, near Maidstone

Sines confirmed he no longer lived in the mansion estate, previously home to Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard, golfer Thomas Bjorn, and The Sultan of Brunei. He now lives in a mobile home at his daughter's house in Old Windsor, Berkshire.

He expressed remorse to the court and explained he “panicked” and fled from officers because of an investigation into his finances by HMRC and the police.

The investigation, in which officers were said to be seeking to confiscate millions of pounds, has now ended.

He said: “I really regret what I’ve done and embarrassed myself.

“I now live in a mobile home next to my daughter and grandson to help with the illness of my grandson.

“I saw a police car with the sirens on behind me, I panicked.

“I was under a lot of pressure over the last year from police and HMRC. They came to my house and arrested me and my family and wanted £50 million.

“The stress was very, very bad - mentally, and for my health.”

In 2011 he was banned from horse racing for 14 years after being found guilty of fixing several 2009 races by the British Horseracing Authority.

Pilgrims Retreat is at the centre of a planning wrangle which could see elderly and infirm residents told to leave due to a lack of permission.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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