Man found asleep in car in Ribble Valley lay-by smelled of alcohol and told police he was going to drive home to Birmingham

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A man, found slumped in his car in a lay-by with half-a-bottle of vodka between his legs, was arrested after telling police he was going to drive home to Birmingham, a court heard.

Retired Peter O’ Neill, who comes from Clitheroe, was almost four times the drink- drive limit. He claimed to Burnley magistrates he had been drinking in the vehicle after a family row as he had nowhere to stay, had been sleeping it off and had had no intention of getting drunk and driving.

Mrs Alex Mann, prosecuting, told the hearing police went to the lay-by on Worston Road, Pendleton, at about 4pm, after reports about someone slumped in a parked vehicle.

They went to make sure the defendant was alright and that he was not going to drive.

O’Neill managed to open the door. He had a half-drunk bottle of vodka between his legs and smelled of drink.

The prosecutor continued: "He cooperated and followed police instructions. He was unsteady on his feet and an officer had to grab hold of his arm to stop him falling over. When asked what his intention was, he said he was going to drive home to Birmingham. At that point, he was arrested.”

The defendant, who was appearing in court on his 58th birthday, blew 131 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath at the police station. The legal limit is 35.

Mr Mark Williams, defending, said O’Neill accepted he had a drink problem, had been to see his GP and had self-referred for treatment.

After the fall-out, the defendant parked up in the lay-by, started drinking, had been there for some hours and was asleep when the police arrived. He wasn’t going to drive in that condition and had intended to sleep it off and then go home at some point in the future.

The solicitor continued: "It wasn’t his intention to get drunk and then to drive. He didn’t have anywhere else to go and was going to go home eventually.”

Mr Williams added: "He is extremely remorseful for what he did. It’s highly unlikely he will ever come before the court again.”

O'Neill, of Shalford Road, Solihull, West Midlands, admitted being in charge of a vehicle whilst above the alcohol limit, on November 8th.

He was banned for a year and fined £416, with a £41 victim surcharge and £85 costs.