Shopping trip ends in court for drink driver

A MOTHER off four who asked her husband to collect her after a post-Christmas shopping drinking bout later drove his BMW after he had joined her in the pub session, a court was told.

Harrogate magistrates heard how Sarah Petch’s progress from the town centre to her home in Knox Lane, Harrogate, on December 22 came to the attention of police when patrolling officers spotted one of the black BWM’s wing mirrors was folded inwards.

Prosecutor Kathryn Reeve said the car, which had been in the offside lane as it headed along Parliament Street towards Ripon Road, had begun to drift left as it reached a point where the carriageway narrowed on the approach to a pedestrian crossing.

Miss Reeve said the vehicle drifted the other way and then swerved to the left to avoid hitting the kerb. So police activated their car’s blue flashing lights and pulled 49-year-old Petch over.

Her initial attempt to provide a breath sample failed and when officers told her she would be given a final chance on the breathalyser she replied: ‘‘No, you’d better arrest me.’’

Once at the police station, however, she had co-operated with the breath-testing procedure and had blown 73 micrograms, three more than twice the limit.

When Petch, who works as a customer assistant, pleaded guilty to drink-driving her solicitor Geoffrey Rogers said after work she had gone into town with a friend to help her buy Christmas presents.

Then the pair decided to have a Christmas drink in a town centre bar before Petch called her husband to drive to fetch her. He had parked near the bar and gone in for a drink.

‘‘One thing led to another and he carried on drinking,’’ said Mr Rogers. ‘‘Neither of them really should have driven the car after that.

’But for some reason Petch could not explain she had made the decision to drive her husband’s car.

Mr Rogers said Petch, whose breathalyser problem had come about because she was asthmatic, was going to have difficulties while serving a driving ban.

In addition to being the one who tended to run the children around she acted as childminder for a grand-daughter and was also sole carer for her 87-year-old grandmother.

Petch was fined £120 with £85 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and an 18-month driving ban.