Wigan man with a 30-year clean driving licence banned after being caught drunk at wheel

A man with a clean licence for 30 years has been banned from the roads after being caught drink-driving.


Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard John Dearnley was still over the legal alcohol limit as he drove to work the day after drinking with friends.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

Police stopped the Hyundai he was driving on Dobson Park Way, Ince, just after 5pm on Tuesday, July 30.

The vehicle had activated the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system in the police car because of an issue with the insurance.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said officers stopped the vehicle and spoke to Dearnley, who smelled of alcohol.

He failed a breath-test at the roadside and was taken to the police station for another test, with the lowest reading being 61 microgrammes of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit for driving is 35mcgs.

Dearnley, 52, of Windermere Road, Higher Ince, pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Adam Whittaker, defending, said: “He made an error in judgement which is going to cost him his driving licence.”

Dearnley had a clean driving licence for 30 years and no previous convictions, the court heard.

The insurance issue arose as he had recently bought a new policy.

Mr Whittaker said his client had drank a significant amount of alcohol with friends the previous evening, slept for six to seven hours and had not eaten.

He thought he would be okay to drive, as it was eight hours since his last drink, and was making the five-minute journey to his job as an engineer when he was stopped by the police.

Mr Whittaker said Dearnley had been subjected to random tests for drugs and alcohol at work and had never failed one in his 30-year career. He would not lose his job if disqualified from driving as he could walk to work instead.

Dearnley was disqualified from driving for 18 months, with the opportunity to reduce this by 18 weeks if he attends a drink-drive rehabilitation course.

Magistrates also told him to pay a £350 fine, £85 prosecution costs and £35 victim surcharge.