Ex-soldier with PTSD caught drink-driving in Nelson

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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An-ex soldier almost three times the drink-drive limit was pulled over after police spotted his erratic driving, a court heard.

Self-employed Peter Heaton was seen swerving near the junction of Windermere Avenue and Manchester Road, Nelson, at about 10pm.

Mrs Alex Mann (prosecuting) told Burnley magistrates: "There were cans in the vehicle. The defendant was clearly quite upset and agitated.

Father-of-three Heaton, who previously served in the Royal Logistics Corps, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, has mental health, cocaine and alcohol issues, and drinks seven or eight cans of lager a day.

The hearing was told when he was breath-tested, the defendant blew 96 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of day. The limit is 35.

Mr David Norman (defending) said Heaton was living out of his van some days and slept on the couch at his former matrimonial home on others.

The defendant drove five other people to jobs. The solicitor continued: "His employment and their employment is gone. He is going to make an application for benefits."

Probation officer Elliott Smith, who interviewed Heaton, said when he committed the offence, he had had seven or eight cans of lager at a friend's house and decided to drive back home.

Mr Smith told the hearing the defendant was in the Army between 1999 and 2004 and suffered from PTSD, with depression and sleep problems.

The defendant, of Ringstone Avenue, Nelson, admitted driving with excess alcohol on Every Street, Nelson, on March 16th. He was given nine months' alcohol treatment and was banned for two years. Heaton must pay an £80 fine, £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.