A ROGUE driver defied his three-year ban and hid in a bush while trying to escape the police after drinking seven cans of Stella Artois lager.

Richard Simmonds, from Ebbw Vale, failed a roadside test after his arrest and refused to give a blood sample when the police station's breathalyser machine wasn’t working.

The 32-year-old had hidden in the bush in Abertillery before giving himself up after a short pursuit last month, prosecutor Steven Donoghue told Cardiff Crown Court.

The father-of-three had been handed a suspended prison sentence in November 2019 after he led police on a high-speed chase when he was more than twice the drink-drive limit.


He was slammed by Judge Richard Williams then, who told him: “You created a real risk of death, serious injury to other road users and to police officers.”

On that occasion, Simmonds was jailed for nine months, suspended for 12 months, after he admitted dangerous driving, drink-driving and driving without insurance.

But the defendant didn’t learn his lesson and was caught after he was spotted by police ignoring his 36-month driving ban on Alma Street in Abertillery.

Mr Donoghue said: “The defendant went into a bush to hide after police officers chased him.

“When he was caught, he smelt heavily of intoxicants. A roadside breath test gave a reading of 105 and he was arrested for driving over the alcohol limit.

“After he was taken to the police station, the Intoximeter machine wasn’t working properly and when officers asked if they could take a specimen of blood, he refused.”

In interview, he told police he had drunk seven cans of Stella Artois that day and “panicked” when he saw them.

Simmonds, of Mount Pleasant Road, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and failing to provide a specimen which put him in breach of November’s suspended jail sentence.

He also admitted taking the vehicle he had driven without consent, a Citroen C3 belonging to his partner.

These latest offences were committed on June 28.

Mr Donoghue said Simmonds also had a conviction for drink-driving and driving while disqualified from 2008.

Jeffrey Jones, mitigating, said: “The defendant is very open to further assistance and wants to make amends for the error of his way.

“He has been in prison for 31 days and has been tearful in telephone conversations with his family.

“He does say this has been a massive wake-up call for him.”

Judge Richard Twomlow jailed Simmonds for 14 months and banned him from driving for three years and four months.