A HOMELESS man who was sleeping in his van, was caught driving it, despite being disqualified.

Simon Michael John Cant, 35, of no fixed address, appeared in front of Island magistrates today (Tuesday 12).

He admitted driving a Ford Escort van in Freshwater on September 14, 2018, while disqualified.

He also admitted using a vehicle without insurance, using a vehicle without a valid MoT, and possession Xanax, a class C controlled drug.

Vivian Ducie, prosecuting, said Cant had been seen to stagger about and drive off in his van. When stopped by the police, he was very unsteady on his feet, and was suspected of being under the influence of drink or drugs.

It turned out he had not been drinking, but was on medication. He was already disqualified from driving and shouldn't have been behind the wheel.

Barry Arnett, for Cant, said he was homeless at the time and was living in the van, having put a mattress in the back.

He said although Cant had been charged for possession of Xanax, there were no charges relating to any impairment or of being under the influence while driving.

He said: "He does not remember where he got the Xanax from."

A probation report stated that Cant had previously been a drug user, including using heroin, speed and cocaine, but had self-referred himself to rehabilitation services.

Presiding magistrate Fay Seabourne said Cant had an appalling driving record, but she would spare him a custodial sentence to give him the chance to keep clean. She said: "You are in last chance saloon."

Cant was given a 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was disqualified from driving for a further 18 months.

He was given an 18-month community order, to include 150 hours of unpaid work and up to 40 rehabilitation requirement days.

He must also pay £45 costs and a £115 surcharge.

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