TWO Gypsies caused chaos on the M56 when they drove a horse and cart along the unlit motorway in a drunken late-night incident.
Police were forced to form a rolling roadblock, slowing other traffic between Frodsham and Elton to speeds of 5mph, as the men laughed and waved.
Billy Ethul Evans, 28, of the Marsh Lane Caravan Park, Frodsham, was jailed for 20 weeks after straddling the hard shoulder and first lane of the motorway for several miles and assaulting three police officers.
Sgt Mark Ellershaw of the North West Motorway Police, commenting after the court case, said: “You have got an unlit motorway with vehicles travelling at 70mph, an unlit horse and trap and a potential for disaster that is immeasurable.
“It was just blind luck that nobody in a car or lorry hit them. With vehicles bearing down on them, had an accident occurred they would never have stood a chance.”
At Chester Magistrates Court, Carolyne Viviani, prosecuting, said: “At about 11.20pm, travelling westbound between Junction 12 and 14, officers came up behind a dark-coloured, unlit, horse and cart with two males perched on one seat.
“Police ordered the males to stop but, laughing and waving, they carried on slowly towards Hapsford Services at about 5mph. At one point Evans fell off the cart before running after it and clambering back on.”
Chased into Elton, they turned down a dead end when the cart hit a parked car and both men tried to escape. Evans, described as “repulsive” by police, was found lying face down under a bush and spat in the faces of two officers attempting to arrest him. He also spat at a sergeant while in custody.
Tariq Hussain, defending, said: “He totally regrets what happened and he is ashamed of what he has done. People do strange things in a state of intoxication and they have difficulty believing it was them.
“He has taken steps to get help.”
Evans, a married father-of-two, pleaded guilty to four charges from Sunday, August 3, 2008.
He was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail, 14 weeks for each of the assaults, with no separate penalty for using the horse and cart on the motorway, and an additional six weeks for breaching a suspended sentence.
Magistrate chairman Michael Perkins said: “It must seem amusing that you have been riding, in a drunken state, a horse and cart along the motorway. But we aren’t looking at it in that way, it could have resulted in something more serious or even fatal.”