A BANNED driver landed a job with a coach firm after showing a bogus licence at an interview, Worcester Crown Court heard.

Alan Savage was taken on to drive a 53-seater coach and turned up at the Hereford company to transport a party to Dartmoor.

He was due to make two pick-ups but police stopped him on the A465 heading for Abergavenny before the coach, belonging to Golden Pioneer Travel, had taken on passengers, said Antonie Muller, prosecuting.

Savage had been disqualified from driving for two years and jailed in February 1997 for drink-driving. He was released just two months before getting the coach job - and he then went on the run until this year.

Savage, aged 40, of King Street, Bridport, Dorset, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to driving while banned and without insurance.

Recorder Quentin Querelle said if an accident had occurred on his planned journey it could have had serious consequences for the passengers.

"You were a public service driver with no insurance who obtained employment by deceit," he added.

"The court has to send out a message that people who commit this type of offence face serious punishment."

Mr Muller said Savage impressed the firm's transport manager by showing him a clean driving licence with qualifications allowing him to drive coaches.

Got stuck

In 1996, he was given another ban for dangerous driving after he picked up a party from a hotel in Bristol to take them to a function.

Savage got his coach stuck on a narrow bridge and had to reverse it along a pavement, said Nigel Fryer, defending.

He said married Savage, who had been a professional driver most of his life, was motivated to apply for the job by the need for money.

After being prosecuted, he "buried his head in the sand" and left Hereford for Dorset where he hoped the offence would just go away.