AN unlicensed driver has been banned from the road for a year after almost mowing down a police officer.

Lee Banks, 48, switched off his headlights and sped off after being clocked by the officer, who was doing speed checks in Christopher Martin Road, Basildon.

Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard Banks, of Crouchview Close, Wickford, had money problems and did not want a fine.

Magistrates heard Banks suffers from a medical condition which means he must renew his driving licence every three years.

He had applied to renew his licence a week before the incident, but had not yet received it back from the DVLA.

The officer spotted him speeding at 9.30pm on February 26 as he drove his Ford Focus into Basildon.

The court heard the officer, who was wearing a hi-vis jacket, stepped in to the carriageway and used his torch to flag down Banks.

However, Banks failed to stop and the officer was forced to leap out of the carriageway.

Banks drove off, but the officer managed to quickly take down his vehicle’s registration number.

Officers then went to Banks’s house to wait for him. When the Ford Focus arrived back at his house, it was being driven by Banks’s wife.

He later returned in her Citroen.

The court heard Banks admitted he had asked his wife to drive to Tesco to swap cars with him.

The Ford Focus was impounded by police and Banks was forced to sell his wife’s car to pay to get it back.

In mitigation, Banks told the court he took a gamble driving without receiving his licence back from the DVLA.

He said he did not deliberately try to harm the traffic officer.

Banks admitted failing to stop for police, speeding, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £55 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.