Drink driver dobbed in by fellow boozer

DRINK driver James Smith – the first man to fall foul of The Evening Star's annual campaign to shame drink drivers - was shopped to police by a concerned member of the public.

DRINK driver James Smith – the first man to fall foul of The Evening Star's annual campaign to shame drink drivers - was shopped to police by a concerned member of the public.

And today Suffolk Police urged others to follow the informant's example - even dialling 999 if need to be – in order to ensure the county's roads are safe from the scourge of drink drivers.

"Drink driving is no longer regarded as a socially acceptable practise," said Anna Woolnough, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Police.

"Everyone is aware of the risks of allowing people who have consumed

alcohol onto the roads. Increasingly members of the public are

demonstrating their aversion to drink drivers by contacting police when

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they suspect that the person in control of a vehicle has been drinking.

"We are very grateful to receive any information which helps make

Suffolk's roads safer and would like to encourage anyone who suspects

the driver of any vehicle to have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol

to contact us by dialling 999 if necessary. The public can be assured

that we will respond."

In Smith's case the person who tipped officers off spotted his Ford Escort in the car park of the Flying Horse pub in Waterford Road, Ipswich on Sunday.

Police then took up watch outside the pub and stopped him after he drove round the corner into Whitehouse Road.

Smith, 61, of West Meadows, Ipswich, admitted drink driving, but claimed he had not drunk much in the pub.

But Lesla Small, prosecuting, told magistrates Smith's breath test reading came up at 82mcg of alcohol to 100ml of breath - more than twice the legal limit.

Tanya Thomas, mitigating, said Smith had met a relative at the pub to play pool. She said he had not drunk much, but admitted not eating all day.

Miss Thomas said Smith and his wife both suffered badly with arthritis and he needed to drive to give the couple mobility.

Magistrates banned him for two years, fined him £100 and ordered him to pay £40 costs.

South-East Suffolk Magistrates Court expected three other men charged with drink driving to appear before them yesterday.

All three of the men who met their appointments admitted the offence.

And all are now banned from Britain's roads - one of them for three years. Two face losing their jobs.

One, Julian Harris pleaded ignorance, but he should know better - it was his second offence.

Magistrates heard 40-year-old Harris, of Vaughan Street, Ipswich, was banned for 12 months in 1999. Now his ban is three years.

In a letter read out to the court, the self-employed builder admitted drinking at a lunch with friends.

But Harris said he could not believe it when the test result was positive as he stopped drinking hours before getting into the car.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said Harris was stopped at the Wherstead interchange of the A14 at 7.20pm on June 10.

When taken to Ipswich Police Station he gave a blood test that showed 117mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - nearly one-and-a-half times the limit.

He was also found to have no insurance or MOT.

In his letter, Harris pleaded for magistrates to be lenient as he faced losing his job if a ban was imposed.

Magistrates said they had given credit for his guilty plea and taken his circumstances into consideration.

But they said there was no alternative to a three-year ban. They also fined Harris £100 for drink driving and £75 for having no insurance and ordered him to pay £55 costs.

Damian Barron thought two pints was the legal limit - he was wrong.

Barron, 32, of Robin Drive, Ipswich, admitted having a couple of drinks in the pub with friends.

He said: "I thought the legal limit for driving was two pints. I thought I was ok and would be ok. I could not believe it was over the limit."

Barron said his building and civil engineering job required him to work anywhere in a 70 mile radius of Ipswich and he expected to lose it.

He apologised to the court for his actions.

Lesla Small, prosecuting, had earlier told magistrates Barron was stopped in Nacton Road at 10pm on October 30.

He was taken to Ipswich Police Station where a blood test revealed 94mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - just over the 80mg legal limit.

Magistrates banned Barron for 12 months, fined him £75 and ordered him to pay £55 costs.

* Drink drivers beware! The Evening Star anti-drink-drive campaign will continue until January 6.