AN unlicensed rider who used his brother's motorbike without permission was over the drink-drive limit when he crashed into the back of another vehicle, a court heard.

Matthew Albert Coates collided with the back of a taxi, which had just pulled away after dropping passengers on North Road, Wingate, County Durham, on Saturday, June 7.

Durham Crown Court heard that as the driver approached a roundabout he heard a loud bang from the back of his vehicle.

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Liam O’Brien, prosecuting, said the taxi driver turned and saw the rider flying across the front of the vehicle.

He approached the stricken Coates, who landed on the ground, telling him to stay where he was and he would summon assistance.

Mr O’Brien said Coates followed the advice until the blue flashing lights of a police vehicle came into view.

He suddenly got up and fled, but was found hiding in a nearby bush, smoking a cigarette.

When asked who he was, he replied: “Matthew”, and confessed he had taken his brother’s motorcycle.

Mr O’Brien said Coates gave two breath samples, with the lowest alcohol reading of 56 microgrammes, compared to the legal limit of 35mg.

“In due course, his brother made a statement saying he didn’t give him permission to ride his motorbike, but he was out at the time it was taken.

“No figure was given for damage to the bike, but there was body work damage to the taxi, although nothing to prevent it being driven away.”

Coates, 28, of Gable Terrace, Wheatley Hill, County Durham, admitted aggravated vehicle taking and failing to stop after an accident, plus driving without insurance and other than in accordance with the licence.

Stuart Graham, for Coates, told the court: “It’s a rare case where a refreshing admission was made.

“He immediately gave his name and revealed he’d taken the bike, not trying to cover anything.

“He’s not a sophisticated criminal and this was out of character.

“He’d had a drink and, as he later said, he couldn’t believe he did it. It was absolute madness.”

Judge Peter Kelson told Coates: “You had absolutely no right to take your brother’s motorcycle.

“I don’t know his feelings about it, but I’ll order you to perform unpaid work for the community.”

Coates must carry out 150 hours work as part of a 12 month community order. He was also banned from driving for 15 months.