Over limit twice in two days

A SALESMAN was “under pressure at work” when he was caught over the limit in his car twice in two days.

Dad-of-two Damian Vokes was facing the prospect of having no wages in the run-up to Christmas when he was caught sitting in his car two-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit and then over three times the limit just the next day.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court was told by prosecutor Joanne Hesse that the 33-year-old was first caught after driving to a takeaway shop in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool.

He was about to get back into his Volkswagen Sharon car when officers suspected he had been drinking, and a breath test showed he had 97 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

He was arrested and taken to the police station. But when he was asked to provide another specimen there he refused.

The very next day Vokes drove to the quarry in Brierton Lane, Hartlepool, and sat in his car with the engine running and drank a bottle of cider.

Officers again tested his breath and he was found to have 106 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Vokes, of Lindsay Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen on November 24 last year and being in charge of a car while unfit through drink the following day.

Mitigating, Adrian Morris said his client did not have an alcohol dependency problem but drank on those occasions due to the stress of his commission-based sales job for the RAC.

He said: “Customers would take up membership and he would get a commission-based payment. But what can happen when cancellations occur is there’s a clawback and in November it was known that the clawback was significant and he wasn’t going to get any wages for December.

“He’s got two children and lives at home with his partner and there was going to be no money for Christmas.

“Arguments obviously started and it was a very stressful time for him.”

He added: “He’s now unemployed. He’s feeling much better about life and he’s looking for a position in retail at the minute.

Chairman of the bench Patricia Tarbitt disqualified Vokes from driving for six months, fined him £200, ordered him to pay £145 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.