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Ex-jailbird awaiting drink-drive sentence.

Byline: By Peter Taylor

Luxury-loving fraudster David Wealleans is back behind bars today after being caught drink-driving three times in as many weeks.

Bedlington magistrates heard how he was arrested after staff at Acklington Prison noticed he smelled of alcohol while visiting.

They alerted police and on leaving he was pulled over and found to have consumed about two and a half times the legal limit for driving. On another occasion he was found to have drunk almost four times the legal limit.

Wealleans, 51, of Collingwood Road, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, is behind bars to await sentence by magistrates after he pleaded guilty to a total of three offences of driving with excess alcohol. The ex-jailbird's tally of convictions on the road started on January 30 when he was stopped at 10.35pm in Northumberland for erratic driving and found to be nearly four times over the limit.

A week later he was stopped after visiting Acklington Jail, and on February 22 he was again arrested behind the wheel for drink-driving.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety for the AA motoring organisation, said: "I have never heard of someone getting caught so frequently.

"There is a persistent offenders arrangement for drink driving, where people who commit a frequent or high level of offences will lose their licence until they can prove they haven't got an alcohol problem."

Wealleans was sentenced to a year in prison in October 2005 when magistrates heard how he wined, dined and slept in four-poster beds by signing off his bills for hundreds of pounds at the Linden Hall Hotel, Longhorsley, to a cashless company which was not trading.

Wealleans, who has a previous record of dishonesty, used company-headed notepaper to fax the hotel and set up a corporate account which gave him 28 days to pay, but he never settled the bills.

He even signed in a fictitious name to set up some of the accounts at the luxury hotel. At Wealleans' trial, DC Andrew Cook told magistrates that when interviewed, Wealleans had told him that More Surveying Services, registered at his home address, was insolvent and had been dissolved in 1999.

But he admitted signing as George Armstrong for a weekend at the hotel with his brother, running up a bill of pounds 455 under the firm's name.

DC Cook revealed there was a six-month period in 2003 when three reservations had been made under the company's name. On the fourth occasion the reservation had been made under the name of Tree Fayre Ltd, a firm Wealleans said he set up the previous year.

John Lawson, for Wealleans, said More Surveying Services had been reinstated in 2004 on the register of companies after being dormant since 1999.

He said Wealleans was entitled to incur debts and liabilities in the name of a limited company. He argued the case came under company law and should have not come into the criminal courts, but been settled under civil law.

Wealleans still owed the hotel pounds 873 when he was sentenced by magistrates to three months' jail to run consecutively on each of the four charges. He appealed against his conviction but at Newcastle Crown Court the judge, Mr Recorder Crowson, threw out the appeal in January last year.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2007
Words:540
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