M1 drink driver: booze level boosted by 8 stone weight loss

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A boozy Doncaster man who abandoned a van on the M1 told magistrates his alcohol reading was higher than it should have been because he had recently lost eight stone in weight.

Craig Harvey’s white Peugeot Partner was found by police officers on the southbound carriage of the motorway, at Elkesley, near Retford, at 1.10am on December 16, and he was discovered walking along the verge shortly afterwards.

“When interviewed, he told police he had drunk four pints after visiting a friend,” said prosecutor Neil Hollet.

A test revealed he had 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, when the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

The court heard he received a 20 month ban, in September last year, for drink driving, with an alcohol reading of 75 microgrammes.

Harvey, 43, of Princess Road, Mexborough, admitted driving while over the limit and while disqualified, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Thursday.

Matthew Taylor, mitigating, said: “Over the last few years he has managed to lose eight stones by having a stomach bypass.

“The reading appeared higher than it would for someone who had drunk the same amount.”

He said Harvey had been out with friends, but learned that his ex-wife had put inappropriate comments about him on social media, and he made the “foolish” decision to drive to his girlfriend’s home.

“He realised what he was doing on the way and abandoned the vehicle,” said Mr Taylor. “The intention was for someone else to collect the vehicle the next day.”

The court heard that Harvey, who is off work because of a back injury, was “ashamed and disgusted with himself”.

Chair Vale Humble said: “This is a second offence in three months, you were double the limit and you left the car in a very dangerous place. If this happens again you will be looking at custody.”

Harvey was handed eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, for both offences, and must attend 30 sessions of a drink driving course.

He was banned for 42 months, but was offered a drink drive rehab course which will reduce the disqualification by 319 days if it is completed by June 2020.

He was ordered to pay a £115 government surcharge and costs of £85.