Five boozing drivers banned

A STARK warning was issued to drink-drivers today after five men were banned from the road by the court.

A STARK warning was issued to drink-drivers today after five men were banned from the road by the court.

The punishments are a victory for the Evening Star's anti drink-driving campaign, which vows to name and shame all those caught over the Christmas and New Year period.

Markus Schneider, 44, of Holden Close, Ipswich, was sentenced to three months in jail and barred from driving for five years after committing his third drink-driving offence in ten years.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court Schneider admitted being nearly three times the legal limit, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

He was breathalysed and was found to have 97micrograms of alcohol in 100ml in breath. The legal limit is 35 mgs.

The court heard that he had been drinking at a friend's house all evening, until 5am on Saturday and then slept for a couple of hours.

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Schneider got up and together with a pal, drove his friend's car along Sheepgate Lane, Falkenham, to meet another friend. However, as he approached a sharp bend, the car crashed in to a ditch.

Gareth Davies, prosecuting, told the court that they remained in the car listening to rock music until they flagged down a passing car for assistance. The driver they stopped called for police, who breathalysed him on their arrival.

The court heard that he was disqualified from driving for five years for a similar offence in 2003, and also sentenced in 2000.

In mitigation, Roger Stewart, said: “He accepts entirely that the laws are there for a purpose. He is in work now and went out on his night off. He indulged quite heavily. It was an error of judgement to drive. He is not an alcoholic but he abuses alcohol.”

Chairman of the bench, Nicholas Ridley, said: “This is very serious and we are going to send you to prison. “This accident was caused by a flagrant breach of court orders.”

He said he would be out of prison within six weeks.

Inspector Trevor Sharman at Suffolk police's headquarters road policing unit, said: “People must expect that if they put themselves in a position of drink driving, then they have got to take the consequences, which can be a fine, prison, or loss of employment.

“We just want to drive home the message that we do this for road safety. For the safety of everyone; the driver, passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, to save lives and stop lives being ruined. If people ignore the advice in our campaign, they must face the consequences.”

n Has drink-driving affected your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Donald Owers, 33, of Oldfield Road, Pinewood, Ipswich, admitted drink-driving, after he was found to have 66mg in 100ml of breath.

Police saw Owers veer across the lane on a number of occasions, on the junction of Norwich Road and Chevalier Street on December 7.

The court heard how the local authority worker had gone for a drink after work and decided to drive home.

Mitigating on his behalf, John Hughes, said: “It has been a bad ten days for him. His father is critically ill and is in intensive care at the moment.

“He realises it was stupid.”

He was disqualified from driving for 16 months and fined £350, ordered to pay costs of £60 and a surcharge of £15.

Sabah Karin, 30, of Bishopsgarth, off Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, was stopped by police in Dogs Head Street at 12.25am on December 8 after they spotted a flashing red lights on the grill on the front of the car.

When he got out of the car, they smelt alcohol on his breath and a breath test revealed he had 51mg in 100ml of breath. He admitted drink-driving and driving without a licence.

Through an interpreter, Karin, a factory worker, said: “I know I was wrong. I do apologise for any inconvenience to anyone for these offences. I promise this will not happen again.”

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months, fined £350 for both offences, had to pay costs of £60 and a surcharge of £15.

Martin Currie, 45, of Fircroft Road, Whitton, Ipswich, was spotted by police at around 1.30am on December 8 driving along Fircroft Road with no lights on.

Prosecutor Naomi Turner told the court that police stopped him, and when he got out of the car, he appeared unsteady on his feet.

He was found to have 80mg in 100m of breath, more than twice the legal limit, and he was arrested.

Currie, who is self-employed, admitted he would not be able to work if he was disqualified from driving.

He said: “I had been out and had come back home. I do not know what came over me but I just jumped in my car. I have nothing else to say. I know I did wrong.”

He was given a 20-month disqualification. He was fined £450, had to pay costs of £60, and had to pay £15 surcharge.

Police stopped driver Mark Dowd, 27, of Broke Hall Gardens, Broke Hall, Ipswich, as they believed he was on his mobile phone.

After speaking to him, they found he smelt of alcohol, and a reading showed he had 56mg in 100ml of breath.

Dowd said: “The disqualification will make my life hard but I have to suffer the consequences.”

He was disqualified for 16 months, had to pay a £300 fine, costs of £60 and £15 in victim surcharge.

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