'dopey driver' | 

Tyrone man torched own car, reported it stolen and watched while eating chips

In a separate incident, cops found Hughes sucking 2p coins in a bid to beat their breathalyser after they had found him drunk in charge of a vehicle

Cathair Hughes

Steven MooreSunday World

Mobility scooter ‘joyrider’ Cathair Hughes has really ‘had his chips’ after he crashed his car into a field, set it alight and then called the cops to declare it had been stolen!

When cops arrived at the scene they found the dopey driver sitting in a mate’s car nearby eating a bag of chips – watching his car go up in flames – with the car key in his pocket.

In a separate incident, cops found Hughes sucking 2p coins in a bid to beat their breathalyser after they had found him drunk in charge of a vehicle.

The 23-year-old has featured in the Sunday World recently after he was convicted of tying an OAP’s mobility scooter to the back of his car before taking it on a joyride round country roads.

But we can reveal his stupidity is off the scale after he appeared in two separate courts this week – one in Dungannon Crown Court and one in Omagh Magistrates’ Court - for embarrassing and shameful driving offences.

Face of man (22) charged after mobility scooter was stolen and tied to a car

First the Tyrone man was convicted of perverting the course of justice for falsely claiming his car had been stolen and then separately he was convicted of being in charge of a motor vehicle when he was over the alcohol limit.

In December 2019 Hughes, of Blackbog Road, Greencastle in Omagh, called cops to tell them his Volkswagen Passat had been stolen.

However, police found him in another car eating a take-away while watching the car burning in a field.

The court heard police believed Hughes had crashed the car into the field and when it became stuck he hatched the plan to torch it and claim it had been stolen – but didn’t have the sense no to be at the scene when cops arrived.

The found he even had the key to the car in his pocket but the PPS had to withdraw a charge of being drunk in charge because the car was on private property.

Hughes was sentenced to six months jail, suspended for two years, and ordered the pay compensation of £500 to the owner of the land and £250 to the Fire Service.

Judge Brian Sherrard described the incident as “drunken idiocy” while defence barrister Fintan McAleer said it was a situation “when the drink was in and the wit was out”.

An application was made for compensation to the landowner of £610 plus VAT for damage caused by the vehicle going through a fence and £264 for moving sheep from the field.

Mr McAleer, instructed by solicitor Ronan McCourt, said the figures were estimates and suggested it would have been feasible to have invoices three years later.

He also said it was “not clear” how the total was reached for moving the sheep.

Granting compensation of £500, Judge Sherrard said the landowner had “suffered considerable nuisance”.

In another court this week Hughes was convicted of being drunk in charge of a car after cops caught him leave his car to relieve himself against a wall before getting back into the car in Carrickmore last November.

Omagh Magistrates Court was told Hughes was “sucking a 2p coin to avoid detection”.

He provided an evidential breath sample that recorded an alcohol reading of 53 micrograms, 18mgs in excess of the legal limit.

District Judge Peter Magill said it was a “very low alcohol reading” and banned him from driving for one month and fined him £500.

In December we revealed how Hughes had been caught on video stealing a mobility scooter in Ballygawley, tying it to the back of his 4X4 vehicle and then driving off with the scooter dragging along country roads.

Cathair Hughes from Greencastle Co. Tyrone appeared before the Magistrates Court to face charges in relation to the theft of a mobility scooter from outside a shop in Ballygawley in October. Hughes (22) of Blackbog Road was charged with stealing the mobility scooter worth £570, damaging the scooter theft of disability scooter

Hughes also admitted a charge of careless driving, reduced from dangerous driving by the Prosecution Service, and driving while using a hand-held mobile phone.

In video footage of the incident, seen by the Sunday World, the number plate is clearly visible.

The voice of a female in a car nearby, where the footage is being recorded, can be heard to say, “Are they stealing that scooter?” to which a male replies, “Um hum” indicating in that’s exactly what was happening.

The man tying the scooter to the car is wearing a grey sports top with a green band and the number ‘2’ on the back, and jeans.

He then gets into the driver seat and drives off and out of view towing the scooter.

The vehicle was then seen to pull to the side of the road, where the scooter was unattached before it was pushed over as the men could be heard laughing.

A PSNI spokesman said at the time the scooter was "found damaged beyond repair" before adding, “this was obviously a very distressing ordeal for the victim".

He was ordered to carry out 180 hours’ community service work for the theft and criminal damage of the mobility scooter.

He was further fined £300 and had eight penalty points endorsed on his licence for driving without due care and attention and using a mobile phone.

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