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Roof thatcher collided with marked police car while ‘extremely drunk’

PUBLISHED: 18:21 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:21 06 March 2018

Richard Ball leaving magistrates' court in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Richard Ball leaving magistrates' court in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A Suffolk roof thatcher has been banned from the road for driving while “extremely drunk” and colliding with an oncoming police car.

Richard Ball was also handed a suspended jail sentence by Ipswich magistrates for getting behind the wheel of an Isuzu D-Max while four times the legal limit.

The 55-year-old, of Laxfield Road, Fressingfield, failed to stop after veering across the A1120 Badingham road and smashing the wing mirror of a marked police car at about 11.30pm on February 8.

According to police, Ball’s car continued travelling at the same speed and only came to a stop after officers used blue lights to signal for the driver to pull over.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablitt said Ball had to be physically removed from the car and was described as “extremely drunk”, unsteady on his feet and smelling of alcohol.

The roof thatcher pleaded guilty to driving with 141 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath four times the prescribed limit of 35mcg.

Ball said he had been for a meal at a local pub, where he later returned after realising he had mislaid his wallet.

Efforts to locate the wallet in the pub were unsuccessful, but Ball got caught up in what was becoming a lock-in and got drunk, before making fruitless attempts to find a place to stay for the night and driving home.

A pre-sentence report by the probation service said Ball was aware of the consequences of his actions and that the decision to drive was “foolish”.

Magistrates heard the offence was “wholly out of character” committed by a man who had never troubled the court, nor would be likely to again.

Ball had already swapped his car for a bicycle before appearing in court, where magistrates told him the offence was serious enough to cross the custody threshold.

They said he failed to slow down and refused to cooperate after colliding with a police car, but they took into account his guilty plea and display of remorse.

He was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was banned from driving for 32 months.

Ball will have the chance to complete a drink-driver rehabilitation programme and reduce the ban by 32 weeks.

He was also ordered to pay £200 to the court in fines and costs.

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