A DRIVER has avoided a road ban despite being caught driving in Musselburgh while disqualified.

Nicodema Masecchia, of Kidlaw Cottages, near Gifford, was stopped in his car by police officers on mobile patrol at about 3.20pm on July 9.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that Masecchia provided a provisional licence but, following checks, it was found he was disqualified from driving following a previous offence.

Officers also contacted the 41-year-old’s insurance company and it was found there was no valid cover on the vehicle.

He was arrested and charged and appeared at the Capital court along with an interpreter last Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to the two offences.

Solicitor George Henry said that his client had been banned from driving for six months in January and Masecchia had made a mistake as he “thought the ban was up”.

Mr Henry said that the January ban still had 21 days to run when he was pulled over by police at Linkfield Road in Musselburgh in July.

The lawyer added that Masecchia, an unemployed chef, lived in “a rural location” and his licence “is very important to him”.

He said: “He does have a number of analogous convictions but this does seem to be a genuine mistake.”

Sheriff Campbell said: “From what I have been told, this has arisen from a misunderstanding of a court order.

“That is extremely unfortunate but I am prepared to deal with this matter on the basis of the plea.

“There will be no ban but the court will not be so generous in future.”

The sheriff placed six penalty points on the Italian national’s driving licence and fined him £230.

Masecchia pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle while disqualified and with no insurance at Linkfield Road, Musselburgh, on July 9.