Wigan veteran caught drink-driving lived in his van

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A veteran living in his van after “losing everything” has been banned from getting behind the wheel after he was caught drink-driving.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard James Sharpe, 25, failed a breath test when he was stopped by police on Greenough Street, Scholes, just before 4am on July 6.

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They had earlier seen his Mercedes Sprinter van being driven on Central Park Way without lights and indicated for him to turn them on, which he did.

Sharpe, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to driving with 67mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Martin Jones, defending, said Sharpe was living in the van and had not planned to drive that day.

He said: “A rock of some sort had been thrown at it, causing damage. He says he felt unsafe. He feared further damage to the vehicle or himself and so he decided to move the vehicle to a nearby car park.”

He said Sharpe was cooperative when arrested, but became agitated in custody after not receiving medication.

Sharpe claimed he was assaulted by police officers, with his nose being broken and his eyes gouged, and a formal complaint has been made.

The court heard father-of-three Sharpe served in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, initially full-time before transferring to the reserves in a bid to try to save his relationship.

But the relationship came to an end and he had to leave the reserves after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following an incident in Belize.

Mr Jones said to magistrates: “In the circumstances I would ask that you deal with him as leniently as you feel your public duty permits.”

Sharpe was banned him from driving for 19 months.

He must also pay a £120 fine, £85 prosecution costs and £32 victim surcharge.