Man found asleep at the wheel with his car in a ditch spared driving ban

Ewen Smith (42) was given 10 points on his licence as well as beingfined 100.
Ewen Smith (42) was given 10 points on his licence as well as beingfined 100.

Despite being found asleep at the wheel with his car in a ditch in Colne, an over-the-limit holiday park worker has been spared a driving ban.

Burnley Magistrates Court heard how Ewen Smith (42) claimed that - despite having the engine running - he had not got behind the wheel after drinking, claiming he had gone to his car to get some sleep.

Smith was discovered at 6am on Red Lane in Colne, after a concerned member of the public called the police, with the defendant blowing 53 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - 50% over the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Smith, of Marsden Hall Road in Nelson, admitted being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol on May 21st and was given 10 points on his licence as well as being fined £100, with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Mrs Alex Mann, prosecuting, told the court: "He (Smith) said he wasn't driving the car although it's a little bit suspect how the car got into the ditch."

Mr Mark Williams, defending, said Smith had been working at Wareham Forest Tourist Park in Dorset for many years, but had got himself into debt and had become depressed.

The solicitor continued: "He came back here to his home area really, I think, to try and sort himself out and get help with his depression, which he is doing. He didn't have a stable address and accepts he had more drink than was good for him and on occasions he had been staying in his car."

Mr Williams said the defendant, who is currently on statutory sick pay, parked up on the lane, went drinking, and got back to his car at what he thought was around midnight.

The solicitor said: "He got in his vehicle and has gone to sleep in the car. He woke up at some point, he was cold, put the engine and heater on and has gone back to sleep. Subsequently, there was a knock on the window and the police were there.

"There is no evidence that what he says is not the case," Mr Williams added.