SINGLE mother Joely Powell has narrowly escaped prison after committing a string of traffic offences, including driving just days after being disqualified for two years.

Powell, of Westminster Road, Toothill, was banned from driving on November 29 last year after being caught drink driving.

But police were amazed when just days later they spotted her car and pulled her over again. Powell had become well known to police after regularly causing a nuisance on the roads, including parking outside school gates and driving without insurance.

After being sentenced by Swindon magistrates yesterday for driving while disqualified, Powell admitted she had made mistakes.

“It all started at the beginning of last year,” she said.

“The traffic outside my son’s school is horrendous, and I would have to park on the zig zag lines. I would only go in to grab my son but the police would get me straight away.”

“The first time I was stopped I had only recently bought the car, so it was in transition of going into my name, but they refused to give me a ticket so I ended up getting three points on my licence.

“Some other charges have been dropped, which has made me a bit suspicious as to why I keep getting pulled over. The next time I got pulled over for having no insurance.”

Powell said it felt like every time she went out in her car the police were there waiting, and she had flaunted her ban after hearing her eight-year-old son was ill.

“I did not know the officer knew that I had been banned,” she said. “My son wasn’t very well and his doctor rang me saying he had not been able to go for a wee for days.

“I thought if I drove to the school it would only take me 10 minutes to get to him, and like an idiot I got caught straight away.

“Because I have had so many driving errors in such a small space of time they think I am never going to learn. But I am a single mother and I need my car.

“Obviously I regret what I have done, but I am the one who is now without a car and I have lost my independence.

“When I get my licence back I am going to be an angel.”

In November Powell was sentenced to 150 hours’ community service, which she has begun. She will now work with probation services to get back on track.

Gordon Hotson, defending, said: “She intends to take on the drink drive rehabilitation course and there will be elements of supervision to assist her thinking skills. She has no family support able to provide transport for her son.

Powell was sentenced to a community order for 12 months, an additional 40 hours of unpaid work, and disqualified from driving for 18 months, to be served concurrently with her existing ban. No court costs were imposed as Powell had no means to pay them.

District Judge Simon Cooper, sentencing, said: “You were within a whisker of going to prison today. I am required to sentence you for driving while disqualified.

“You took your child to the doctor after having difficulties for some days. If it was a problem that had been building for some days there would have been some other way of dealing with it.

“I know you will be very upset, but you did not think very clearly.

“This was a serious breach and I am required to consider a prison sentence in this case. You are a young mother not doing terribly well with your finances.

“You are a danger on the road and you ignored an order of the court.”

PC Stephen Yeates, beat manager for Toothill, said: “She has a history of traffic offences and refusing to do what she is told. Sometimes a bit of police presence will get results.”

Powell said she has now left her car in the pound, and will not be attempting to drive it again.