A Mansfield man rowed with workmates and fled in a company van to escape their anger, even though he had been banned one week earlier, a court heard.
Ben Childerley drove the Fiat Scudo the four and a half hours back home from Wigan, and was arrested the next morning, on June 2, when he was found hiding in a wardrobe, at an address in Rainworth.
“He told police he had been working in the Wigan area the night before when he got into an argument over wages with other members of his team,” said prosecutor David Miles.
“Fearing for his safety he said he had no choice but to drive off. He didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t have any credit on his phone.”
Childerley, 27, of Yorke Street, Mansfield Woodhouse, admitted taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, and driving while disqualified and without insurance, when he appeared before magistrates in Mansfield, on Monday.
The court heard he had been banned for drink driving the week before, on May 24, and had previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly in 2016, and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, in 2010.
Yvonne Wragg, mitigating, said Childerley faced a jail sentence because of the recent drink driving, as his alcohol reading had been very high.
After the argument broke out in the hotel, he went to his room and was told by his supervisor his colleagues in the bar were still angry, she said.
“Unfortunately he made a very bad decision,” she said. “He is extremely disappointed in himself.”
Chair Jane McGregor said: “We were very close to sending you to prison. You were only recently disqualified and placed on a community order. It was also a huge breach of trust.
“If you put a step wrong you will go to prison.”
Childerley was sent to prison for 12 weeks, suspended for one year, with unpaid work of 150 hours. Eight points were added to his licence.
He must pay court costs of £85 and a £115 victim surcharge.