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Homeless car dweller fled from Mansfield police in 70mph chase and crashed into tree

A homeless man who was living in his car “panicked” when police discovered him in woods outside Mansfield in the early hours and he sped off, reaching 70mph before crashing into a tree, a court heard.

Officers shone a torch into Danny Clarke’s Fiat Punto, on a bridlepath off Eakring Road, at 4.30am, on April 21.

Mansfield Magistrates Court.

Mansfield Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Daniel Pietryka said a helicopter was deployed in the chase, which ended in the collision with a tree, and Clarke was found hiding in bushes nearby.

A test revealed he had 57 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, when the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

He told police he had recently bought the car for £100 and drank two pints on the night.

The court heard he was banned for drink driving in 2011.

Clarke, 27, now of Greendale Crescent, Clipstone, admitted drink driving, failing to stop, and driving without insurance, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

Chris Perry, mitigating, said Clarke had a “difficult upbringing”, because his father was an alcoholic and he was largely brought up by his grandmother.

But a six-year period of non-offending ended when his grandmother died and he lost his accomodation. He began drinking heavily again when his father died recently and he also lost his job.

He has two children and is set to become a father for the third time, the court heard.

“Ironically he has been offered a driving job,” added Mr Perry.

“He was very tearful in the police station because he was talking about what he could have in his life and what he stands to risk.

“He doesn’t need to be going back down this road.”

Clarke was banned for three years, but he was offered a drink drive rehab course which will reduce the disqualification by nine months, if he completes it by June 2020.

He was fined £280, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a government surcharge of £30.