A PROLIFIC offender has been handed a suspended sentence after he was caught driving while disqualified for the sixth time.

Thomas Honeyman repeatedly interrupted magistrates and referred to the chairman of the bench, Dr Peter Minto, as “boss” when he appeared at court in Newton Aycliffe.

The 25-year-old, who wore a fluorescent yellow t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms to the hearing, begged magistrates to be lenient with him as he had a wife and had recently become a father.

He was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The court heard he was seen by police driving a blue Peugeot 307 without a seatbelt in the Denes area of Darlington on February 25.

Officers tried to follow the car and saw Honeyman running down an alleyway. He was later arrested in a cafe in Northgate.

Honeyman, of Sandringham Road, Doncaster, represented himself during the hearing.

The father-of-one told the court he was working for his brother at the time of the incident, as he owns a business on Newton Aycliffe Industrial Estate selling cars.

He said that although he has a number of previous convictions, including five for driving while disqualified, he had recently turned his life around following a prison sentence.

“The police do not like us because we are from the travelling community,” he said.

“I have had a long history with the police. I have been a bit of a Jack the lad, but when I got out of prison I moved to South Yorkshire and that is where I met my girlfriend and got married."

He was also banned from driving for six months and ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.