A Wiltshire ice cream man has been sentenced after he was caught drink driving.
Police stopped Mariusz Kekus driving his purple Cadbury-branded Ford ice cream van in London Road, Devizes, at around 1.15pm on 5 September this year.
It came after an eagle-eyed traffic cop noticed the 40-year-old was driving without his seat belt fastened – and then swiftly discovered that he was drunk.
Charles Nightingale, prosecuting, said that when the officer spoke to the defendant about his lack of seat belt, he noticed alcohol on his breath.
Kekus provided a positive sample at the roadside and was subsequently arrested. In custody, he gave an evidential reading of 81 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
Mr Nightingale said the officer described him as “polite and compliant throughout” the process and confirmed that his ice cream van was “properly documented”.
He said that due to the nature of the vehicle he was driving, it was an aggravating feature because “he would be heading to an area where he would be prepared to sell ice cream to members of the public, which could include young people”.
But Philip Hatvany, defending, said that his client was driving to an industrial estate for repair work, because “the freezer was not working properly and the ice lollies were melting”.
He added: “My client had consumed a lot of alcohol the previous evening, so much so that he was still over the limit the following day. When he woke up, he didn’t feel drunk, he didn’t feel over the limit.”
Mr Hatvany asked the magistrates to accept that this was a case of “non-intentional drink driving as opposed to an intentional drink driving, when someone gets into the vehicle knowing full well they were over the limit”.
He told the court that Kekus’ ice cream business will “come to an end” and his other employment – at Casa Bella Furniture in Melksham – is “in jeopardy” because he needs to be able to drive.
He said the firm will endeavour to keep him on, but the “longer the ban, the harder it will be”.
Mr Hatvany outlined a number of family problems to the court, suggesting that a lengthy driving ban may put more pressure on his wife and result in their separation. He said that his nine-year-old daughter will also be heavily affected.
He added: “If my client is banned for a long period of time, it will be horrendous. The longer the ban, the more disastrous the repercussions.”
Magistrates handed Kekus, of Mascroft Road, Trowbridge, an 18-month disqualification from driving and told him to pay a £599 fine. He must also pay costs and surcharge.
Click here to join our WhatsApp Channel and get breaking news sent directly to your mobile – don’t forget to turn on notifications by clicking the bell icon.
Click a topic to read more stories like this: