THE former landlord of a Bridge Street bar has admitted to the latest in a string of driving offences.

Keith Hesketh, aged 50, ran Fusion before signs were placed on the bar announcing it was closing in December last year.

Halton Magistrates Court heard on Thursday how the defendant, from Widnes, was caught speeding in a Range Rover on Sankey Way.

Officers from Cheshire Police clocked him travelling at 51mph in a 40mph zone on July 16 last year.

Alison Warburton, prosecuting, said Hesketh was supposed to appear in court on December 19 accused of a separate set of driving offences.

She said he was charged with driving with no insurance and using a mobile phone while driving.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and Hesketh was found guilty in his absence.

The case was adjourned until January 14, but he did not show up.

Hesketh claimed not to have received any correspondence from the court relating to the second set of charges, saying his partner ‘dealt with that side of things’.

When Magistrates demanded an explanation of why he did not turn up to court, Hesketh said he had been in hospital for several weeks.

The defendant, who appeared in a wheelchair, said he was released from hospital before Christmas, but could not provide any medical evidence.

On Thursday, Hesketh said: “From what I understand, my missus sorts out all my bits and bobs.

“I came today because my partner told me to, I had got a letter.

“I swear on my mother’s life I wasn’t aware I had to be here (last) Tuesday.

“You can’t take me to court and find me guilty when I’m not there.”

Court officials said that a letter had been sent to his home address informing him he had to appear, and that guilty verdicts can be given when defendants fail to show up.

The hearing was adjourned for Hesketh to find medical evidence proving the dates he was in hospital.

Hesketh added he denied driving with no insurance and could provide evidence to that effect.