A senior firefighter was caught drink driving after ‘throwing beer cans out of the car window’.
Simon Byers failed the roadside breathalyser when he was pulled over by officers on the A360 in Shrewton, near Amesbury, at around 5.15pm on 7 August this year.
The 54-year-old was reported to the police by witnesses – who claimed a Ford Fiesta was being driven erratically and beer cans were being thrown out of the window.
At Salisbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday (1 September), the defendant pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit.
Prosecutor Kate Prince said that Byers was arrested and provided a reading of 83 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath in custody – where the limit is 35 microgrammes.
Barry Culshaw, defending, said his client was driving to help his wife after she encountered problems with her own car but didn’t take into account that he had been drinking earlier in the day.
He said that Byers, of Osmund Walk, Old Sarum, works for QinetiQ as a Watch Manager – effectively a senior firefighter with management responsibilities – at MOD Boscombe Down.
Mr Culshaw also spoke about the defendant’s role as a lecturer at Weston College, where he trains apprentice firefighters.
He said the Byers was under a lot of “stress and pressure” and has since sought medical advice, and is abstinent of alcohol. He said he won’t lose his job at Boscombe Down as a result of his conviction and will make the seven-mile commute by bicycle.
His colleague, Watch Manager Ian Abbott, provided a glowing character reference to the court. He described him as “extremely valued” member of the team.
Magistrates imposed an 18-month driving ban and fined him £781. He must also pay £85 prosecution costs and a £312 surcharge.
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