Wigan drunk driver nabbed by his policeman neighbour

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A drunk driver narrowly avoided jail after being caught behind the wheel by his neighbour, who was a police officer.

Darren Webster was more than triple the legal limit when his neighbour noticed his “dishevelled” appearance and smell of alcohol as he pulled into his driveway in Winstanley.

The court heard that it was the second time the 50-year-old had been caught drink driving - again three times over - in two weeks.

The first offence occurred on March 1 at a Haven holiday camp in Pwllheli, Wales.

It was around 5.30pm when police were called to the site after a member of staff saw Webster driving a BMW X5 erratically.

Police attended and pulled him over at a car park, where he was noticeably unsteady on his feet and failed a breath test.

He was arrested and taken to the station, and failed another breath test after his lowest reading was 116mgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mgs.

He was placed on police bail but was caught driving drunk again on March 14, this time in Wigan and by his former neighbour, who happened to be an off-duty police officer.

Webster, had returned to his former home in Winstanley, which he no longer lived in but had not yet sold.

His neighbour, an off-duty police constable, was playing rugby outside with his son when he saw Webster’s car driving down the street.

He observed that Webster looked “dishevelled” and was driving slowly before stopping on his driveway and remaining in the stationary car.

The constable became “increasingly concerned” that Webster was intoxicated, he approached the car to check on him, and could smell alcohol on him.

Webster admitted to the man that he had been drinking, at which point he called the police, remaining by the side of the car to make sure he would not attempt to drive away.

Webster pleaded with him to let him get out of the car and had to be physically kept in the vehicle until officers arrived to arrest him.

A breath test at the police station returned a reading of 107mgs.

Defending, Vaqas Latiff told the bench his client was full of remorse and had “hung his head in shame for letting himself, his family and the public down.”

Mr Latiff added that Webster had turned to drinking due to cope with stress after falling into financial difficulties arising from being unable to sell his former home.

“He is extremely sorry and remorseful for his actions”, said Mr Latiff.

Magistrates, declaring that Webster has shown “total disregard for road users”, sentenced Webster to a 16-week prison term, suspended for 12 months.

He must also complete nine months of alcohol rehabilitation, 20 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also banned from driving for four years and will pay court courts of £170 and a £115 victim surcharge.