A former car clamper has narrowly escaped a driving ban after admitting using his Land Rover in Skipton without insurance.

Gareth Evans, 36, told Skipton magistrates he firmly believed his vehicle was insured when he was questioned by an officer in Devonshire Place, on January 20.

Evans, whom the court heard already had six points on his licence and was in danger of a driving ban under the totting-up procedure, originally pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea last Wednesday after accepting the vehicle was not insured after all.

The court heard that Evans owned two Land Rovers that he used for his car clamping business, a Discovery and a Defender.

A friend, of Central Care Rentals in Skipton, had offered to insure the vehicles at a cheaper rate and so Evans had cancelled his policies, the court was told by Paul Fitzpatrick, in mitigation.

But when the officer made checks on the Defender in January, it had not been insured.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the ramifications of the court case had led to a falling-out between the two men and Evans now realised that he must take personal responsibility for the insurance on his vehicles.

Evans, whom the court heard had received six points on his licence for an identical offence two years ago, successfully convinced magistrates he would suffer “exceptional hardship” if he was unable to drive.

Mr Fitzpatrick said as a result of The Protections of Freedoms Act, which had just come into force, Evans was no longer able to clamp vehicles on private land.

He said he was the sole proprietor of a car park supervision business that now issued fixed penalty tickets instead of clamping at three car parks in Haworth, seven in Wakefield, 15 in Skipton, and five in Bradford.

Mr Fitzpatrick said Evans employed three people, none of whom were able to drive, and needed to ferry them to each of the sites every day.

If he was unable to drive, his business would be at risk, his employees would not be able to get to work and the owners of the car parks would also suffer.

“The loss of his licence would be quite catastrophic for him. This was a misunderstanding and not a deliberate flouting of the law,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Evans told magistrates that the business was not lucrative at the moment and added he now had to wait 28 days to receive payment from fixed penalty tickets.

“I’ve had to fork out a lot of money for new equipment,” he said.

Evans, of Ling Park Approach, Wilsden, had his licence endorsed with six penalty points, taking him to the maximum of 12. He was also fined £600, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £15 victims surcharge.