Drink-driver banned for a year after almost colliding with police van

The defendant nearly hit a marked police vehicle, a court heard.
The defendant nearly hit a marked police vehicle, a court heard.
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A plant operator caught drink-driving was said to have nearly hit a marked police vehicle just before midnight, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how Joseph Wilkinson was followed and stopped, with an officer able to smell alcohol on his breath. He blew 53 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Wilkinson, who has never been in trouble before, was described by his solicitor as a "perfectly respectable, hard-working young man," who had made an "error of judgement."

The self-employed defendant, of Barkerhouse Road in Nelson, admitted driving with excess alcohol on Church Street in Colne, on October 1st. The 29-year-old was banned for a year, fined £350, and must pay a £35 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Mr John Greenwood, defending, told the hearing Wilkinson had been to the pub at 5.30pm and had two pints. He then went home, had some tea, and a shower and at 9pm went to pick up his girlfriend in Barnoldswick.

His cousin then called to say he was at a bar in Colne, they decided to call in for a drink and the defendant parked his van, which contained tools, deliberately right outside, where it would be covered by CCTV overnight.

Mr Greenwood said Wilkinson had a pint-and-a-half and he and his girlfriend intended to leave the van and walk up into Colne for a few more drinks. The solicitor continued: "Unfortunately it was raining and she said 'Lets go up in the car and leave it up in town,' and he foolishly agreed."

Mr Greenwood said Wilkinson saw a parked police van where the road started to narrow and a car was coming down towards him. The solicitor went on: "He reduced speed and believed there was sufficient room to get between the car coming towards him and the police van. He does not accept he nearly collided with a police van, although he does accept he was quite close to it."

Mr Greenwood, who said Wilkinson was "totally embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed with himself" for what he had done, would be caused all sorts of problems. He added: "He had just been taken on by a construction company working for BetFred and had enough work for the next 18 months, but he is not able to get to Bolton."