Drink drivers pay the price

A SUFFOLK man caught sleeping in a hedgerow while clutching his car keys is among four drink drivers beginning bans today.He was one of two men who had accidents on the same day while almost three times over the legal limit.

A SUFFOLK man caught sleeping in a hedgerow while clutching his car keys is among four drink drivers beginning bans today.

He was one of two men who had accidents on the same day while almost three times over the legal limit. The other could hardly stand up when police questioned him.

Debenham driver Charles Carlton-Smith was barred from the road for two years when Ipswich magistrates heard he was found sleeping it off in a hedge after crashing his Austin Mini.

The 24-year-old of Cross Green, Debenham, was also fined £150 and ordered to pay court costs of £55 after admitting driving with excess alcohol.


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Prosecutor Lesla Small told South East Suffolk Magistrates Court Carlton-Smith was caught when police were called to the scene of an accident on the B1079 Grundisburgh Road at 5.10am on Saturday .

When officers arrived they found an A-registration Mini half on the kerb and half on the road after crashing into a post.

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There was no sign of its driver in the immediate area.

Ms Small said a search ended with officers discovering Carlton-Smith asleep in a hedge 100 metres away with a set of car keys in his hand. They woke him up breath tested him at the roadside.

When the test proved positive Carlton-Smith was taken to Woodbridge police station where he was tested again after he admitted being the driver of the Mini.

The results showed he had 93 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 mcgs.

In mitigation Carlton-Smith, a book packer who works in Ipswich, told magistrates: "I had been staying at a friend's house and had just got a new job. I had a few celebratory drinks and stupidly decided I needed to drive home to go to work in the morning.

"I would never do anything like that again. I am pleased no one got hurt. I co-operated fully with the police and hope you will be as kind to me as you can."

Despite his plea for leniency yesterday, chairman of the bench Graham Barnett banned Carlton-Smith for two years. However he offered him the option of shortening his ban by six months if he agreed to a driver rehabilitation course.

Carlton-Smith agreed to pay the £147 to take the course and, providing he completes it successfully, will only be banned until March 23, 2005.

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