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Prison officer receives fine and ban after being caught drink-driving

PUBLISHED: 17:33 17 December 2018

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, The Court House, College Lane, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt.

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, The Court House, College Lane, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt.

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A prison officer with more than 30 years' service has been fined and banned from driving after being caught at twice the legal alcohol limit.

Andrew John Newson, 54, had been drinking in a pub near Wayland Prison where he works, magistrates in King’s Lynn heard on Monday, December 17.

Newson was banned from driving for 18 months, which can be reduced with successful completion of a drink-driver rehabilitation course and was fined £434 and ordered to pay £85 costs and £43 victim surcharge.

Prosecuting, Jane Walker said: “Police had received a call from a member of the public that the defendant was in The Waggon and Horses at Griston and was about to drive having had quite a large amount of alcohol.”

The court heard that police responding to the tip-off passed the defendant in a VW Golf going in the opposite direction.

When they turned round and followed him, they saw the car “swerving over the road”.

Newson was stopped in High Street, Shipdham, and provided a positive roadside breath test.

He was arrested and a later evidential test gave a reading of 70 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Newson, of Swan Road, Dereham, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol on December 2.

The 54-year-old, who was unrepresented, told the magistrates: “I’d just like to apologise. It was totally out of character.

“I’ve been a prison officer for 31 years at Wayland Prison. It’s quite rural so it would be quite difficult to get there and back [with a driving ban], particularly with the shifts.”

This follows the sentencing of both Michael Foley, 28 who was sentenced to a total of 34 weeks in prison after being caught almost five times the drink drive limit and Martin Bolton, 59, who was jailed for 18 weeks after being caught more than five times the limit.

Sergeant Chris Harris, from Norfolk and Suffolk’s Roads and Armed Policing Team, has welcomed sentences for drink drivers but also spoken of his frustration that the message “still isn’t getting through” to people, following the launch of the police’s winter campaign aiming to crack down on drink and drug driving in Norfolk.

This newspaper has vowed to name and shame those drink-driving this Christmas.

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