Drunk tractor driver was danger to public

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While returning home after a night out a drunken man drove off on a tractor and trailer, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Martin Jackson (23), Annaghmore Road, Portadown, was fined £120 and banned for 12 months for driving with excess alcohol on November 1 this year.

Craigavon Courthouse. INLM06-115gc

Craigavon Courthouse. INLM06-115gc

He was also fined £100 for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, £200 for not having insurance and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.

If he completes a drink driving course his ban would be reduced to nine months.

The court heard that at approximately 2.25am police went to the grounds of Ardress House in Portadown where they found a tractor and trailer which had been taken from a house.

Jackson was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol. An evidential test gave a reading of 76.

He said he could not remember much about the incident but thought that earlier in the evening his drink had been spiked. He had no other explanation why he committed the offence.

A solicitor representing Jackson explained that the defendant and a number of friends went out for a drink and he could not remember leaving the bar.

The solicitor said that after leaving the bar Jackson’s next memory was being in police custody.

He added that his client was astonished at his own behaviour. He was walking home and saw the tractor with the keys in it. He had only driven a short distance.

It was a drunken escapade, said the solicitor, but was out of character. He went to the owner of the tractor the next day and apologised.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said Jackson was a man with a clear record and good character.

But, he added, driving a large vehicle was very dangerous to the public when the driver had consumed a large amount of alcohol.