Farm park owner’s driving ban after writing off BMW

Burnley Magistrates Court.Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.
A farm park owner who ploughed into five garden walls in Barrowford has been disqualified from driving.

Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard Thornton Hall Farm manager Christopher Harrison caused damage to garden walls at five homes in Barnoldswick Road, Barrowford, in August when he flipped over his wife’s BMW X5.

A parked Vauxhall Zafira was also damaged in the incident which occurred at 5am when Harrison was returning home from a night out. He had stopped at a friend’s house, the court heard, after having “four or five beers”.

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The court was told he was heading back to Thornton early to work on the Sunday when he clipped a nearside wall and lost control of the vehicle in “a momentary loss of concentration”.

The court heard the X5 was written off and Harrison had walked home and failed to report it until the afternoon.

Married father of two Harrison (27), of Thornton Hall Farm, Thornton-in-Craven, was disqualified from driving for three months, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay total costs of £335 by District Judge Tom Moran.

Harrison had pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, failing to stop and failing to report the accident as soon as was practicable.

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John Greenwood (defending) said: “The incident is a good example of what can be serious repercussions to a momentary loss of concentration while driving.”

Mr Greenwood said Harrison was “confused and shocked”, could not remember the walk home and left the scene because he did not want a confrontation with a resident already coming out of one of the houses.

The solicitor said upon Harrison’s father’s retirement, he had taken over the 260 acre farm, a two-fold business which included 200 sheep, 100 beef cattle on one side and on the other a farm park employing 50 people which attracts up to 120 children a day on school trips.

Mr Greenwood asked the judge to consider not disqualifying him from driving. He said: “Without his licence, he simply can’t carry on.”

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Mr Greenwood said Harrison needed access to public roads to feed the cattle, sheep and tend to land. He added that Harrison could not find anybody else to do that role and that it was not financially viable to do so anyway.

Sentencing, Mr Moran told Harrison he had to disqualify him having taken into consideration he had been up in court for the same offence in 2013.

Mr Moran said he accepted “most” of Harrison’s story, saying: “I do accept at least one of the reasons (you failed to stop) would be that you didn’t wish to have a confrontation with somebody. However, I also think part of the reason had to do with that you had had a drink the night before and by getting home you didn’t have the risk of failing a Breathalyser.”

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