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Norwich party joke led to court

PUBLISHED: 17:23 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 01 July 2010

A 'joke' at a Norwich party led a young man to court.

A 'joke' at a Norwich party led a young man to court.

David Bale

A partygoer drove off in an expensive car after the owner joked he could take it for a spin - and was later arrested for driving without the owner's consent and without insurance or a licence.

A partygoer drove off in an expensive car after the owner joked he could take it for a spin - and was later arrested for driving without the owner's consent and without insurance or a licence.

Luke Elbourne, 23, told Norwich magistrates on Wednesday that he regretted taking the blue Rover 400, and the vehicle's owner was in court to support him.

But Elbourne, from Mary Chapman Close, Dussindale, was left with a bill of £500 after magistrates told him that taking a car without consent and then driving without insurance was a very serious matter.

Elbourne pleaded guilty to taking a car without consent, driving it without a licence and insurance, and possession of cocaine, all on May 9.

He also admitted breaching a 18 months conditional discharge imposed on June 9, 2009 for criminal damage to the bodywork of a car.

Prosecutor, Judith Piggen said police stopped Elbourne driving the car in Bond Street, off Dereham Road, Norwich, on May 9.

She said: “The defendant admitted the car was not his and gave the owner's name as just John.

“He said he had been at a party and asked the owner of the vehicle, the father of the daughter who held the party, 'Can I take your car out for a spin?' The owner had said yes but he was joking.

“Police searched the car and found a single wrap of cocaine, which Elbourne said was for his personal use.”

In mitigation, Ian Fisher admitted Elbourne had foolishly taken the car keys from the house where the party was being held.

He said: “He was stopped by police because he was not the type of person they thought would be driving that make and model of car.

“The owner of the car is in court today and does not hold a grudge.”

He said Elbourne, who lived with his mother and was a door to door salesman, already had six points on his driving licence for driving without insurance. He received another six points on his licence for these offences and - due to the totting-up procedure - was banned from driving for 12 months.

Elbourne was fined £400 plus a £15 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £85 costs. No action was taken on the breach.

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