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Last chance for Wigan drunk driver

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A Wigan man has been given a final chance to turn his life around after driving well over the alcohol limit and having cocaine in his van.

Craig Tomlinson, from Higher Ince, was given a 12-month community order and banned from the road for two years at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.

The bench was told 33-year-old Tomlinson, of Stopford Street, crashed his Ford Fiesta van into a caravan being transported by a lorry on High Street in Standish close to the pub The Globe.

Prosecuting, Katie Beattie said police who attended the incident at around 9am on October 26 last year quickly realised Tomlinson was drunk and breath-tested him.

A crowd who had seen the incident was pointing at Tomlinson as the person responsible for the incident when officers arrived.

The police then searched the Ford Fiesta van and found five wraps of white powder, which turned out to be around 20 per cent cocaine.

Tomlinson was then drowsy and kept falling asleep during official proceedings at the police station.

A sample produced a reading of 104 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, almost three times the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

In interview Tomlinson accepted he was not fit to get behind the wheel, having met a woman at the Britannia Hotel the previous evening and drunk a large amount of alcohol.

He had no memory of driving the vehicle that morning or getting to the busy road in the middle of Standish.

The court was told that Tomlinson has had serious problems with heavy alcohol and illegal drug use but had been given an ultimatum by his parents, who were offering close support.

The probation service told the magistrates he had made major changes to his lifestyle since the incident in October, cutting down drink and cocaine use and starting playing rugby and training again.

Bob Toppin, defending, said: “I can offer remorse in bucketfuls. This young man has the support of his parents but this is his last chance to sort himself out.

“This is a serious offence in terms of his reading and the court always views possessing cocaine as a serious matter, but no-one is more relieved than my client than he did not hurt himself or anybody else. He is desperately sorry for what has happened.”

Sentencing him, the chair of the bench told Tomlinson he was very lucky to have a supportive family and told him to make full advantage of the probation service’s help.

He was given a 12-month order with 15 days of rehab activity requirements and told to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was banned from driving for 24 months but accepted an alcohol awareness course which will reduce the disqualified if completed.

The bench also told Tomlinson to pay £100 in costs and an £85 victim’s surcharge.