Drink driver asks officers for lift

A DRINK-driving construction worker is banned from the road today after he asked the police who caught him to take him home because he was too drunk to get there himself.

Simon Tomlinson

A DRINK-driving construction worker is banned from the road today after he asked the police who caught him to take him home because he was too drunk to get there himself.

South African John Lima was disqualified after being caught more than twice the legal alcohol limit while driving near Woodbridge.

Magistrates in Ipswich heard how Lima went to pick up a friend in the early hours of the morning, but turned around halfway because he knew he was unfit to drive.

Lesla Small, prosecuting, said Lima was driving on the Orford Road at 1.50am on July 13 when police officers came across him.

She said: “Officers noticed a Ford Escort swerving across the road. They watched him for a little while and he repeatedly swerved.

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“When they stopped him they noticed his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol.

“Lima said 'I'm too drunk to drive, can you take me home?'”

Lima, of Saxmundham Road, Snape, had 78 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - more than twice the 35mg legal limit.

The 22-year-old admitted drink-driving, driving with no insurance and driving without a valid licence at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Representing himself, he told the court: “I had a friend in Woodbridge. Halfway there I turned around because I was not capable of driving.”

Lima said he had a South African driving licence but did not know he had to change it a year after being in this country.

He was disqualified from driving for 20 months, fined £180 and told to pay court costs of £65 and a victim surcharge of £15.

If he completes a rehabilitation course, the driving ban will be reduced to 15 months.

No separate penalty was given for the lack of insurance or valid driving licence.

Ted Draper, chairman of the magistrates, said the bench accepted Lima's misunderstanding that his South African licence covered him to drive in the UK.

Should drink drivers receive stiffer penalties? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk