Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Drink driver admitted having a bottle of vodka a night for three days before being caught five times the legal limit while driving on the A14

09:40 29 July 2014

A drink driver who veered uncontrollably across the A14 at 80mph while almost five times the legal limit has been sentenced to 12 weeks behind bars.


The sentence was handed to James Irvine yesterday over what magistrate Robin Howe called one of the highest drink-driving readings he had come across in nearly 30 years on the bench.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard Irvine’s van lurched from more than 80mph to 50mph, came perilously close to other cars and even swerved onto an incoming slip road before police were finally able to pull him over.

Prosecutor Stephen Colman said the 32-year-old’s van was found driving “very erratically” on the westbound carriageway at Rougham at around 7.50pm on June 9.

Reading out a statement from an officer, Mr Colman said: “The officer says it was my honestly-held belief that I was about to witness a crash,

“I found myself in the horrifying position of having to hold back, as there was at that point no safe lay-by to stop the vehicle.

“Each time the Citroen van passed another car, it was by the narrowest of margins that a collision was avoided - certainly more by luck than judgement.”

Irvine, of Lincoln, was unable to provide an accurate breath test given the level of alcohol in his mouth.

However, a blood sample found Irvine with 385mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Irvine, who was representing himself in court, said: “Three nights on the trot I drank three big bottles of vodka and when I finished work I thought it would be alright to have two or three pints.

“Obviously it’s all coming together.”

On June 15, while Irvine was on bail, he was caught drunk behind the wheel in Lincolnshire and pleaded guilty to drink driving the next day.

He was then caught drink driving on the same day he left court, and was given a suspended prison sentence.

Mr Howe described Irvine’s reading as “off the scale”, adding: “This is one of the highest the court has ever seen, certainly I have ever seen.

“This offence is so serious, the reading so high, that only custody is justified.”

Irvine told the court he was co-operating with probation in Lincolnshire, but a probation officer from Suffolk checked and found this was not the case, with Irvine even turning up drunk to one his meetings.

Magistrates also disqualified Irvine from driving for five years.



  • And he should be banned from driving for at least 10 years !, he could have killed entirely innocent person and 'snuffed' out their life !. Take his licence away and make him take the Driving Test at the end of the 10 years !

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • he may just be sober by then 12 weeks do six blimey 5 times over the limit . that should be a longer sentence .

    Report this comment

    Lee mundy

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Dr John Ashdown-Hill from Lawford is made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A historian who was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains has today been presented with an MBE.

Pedestrian rail crossing just off Mount Road, Bury St Edmunds.

Lifesaving police officers who pulled a drunk and suicidal man off the train tracks near Bury St Edmunds seconds before a train flew past are up for a national bravery award.

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn (head of Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England), Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Tim Mills, Garath Jones and Mark Ling.

Broomhill pool in Ipswich could reopen to the public at Easter 2018 – its 80th anniversary – after its re-opening proposals got the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Average speed camera.

Average speed cameras on the A12 on the Essex and Suffolk border have not yet been switched on – three months after they were installed.

The Memorial Hall  in Drinkstone

The village of Drinkstone is remembering another of its fallen First World War soldiers with a special exhibition.

Georgia and Jodie Mutch have lost 8.5 stone between them after joining Slimming World. The sisters are pictured in Ipswich. Georgis is on left on the latest photo

Jodie Mutch and sister Georgia are celebrating new slim-line figures after losing five stone and three stone respectively.


Four unemployed mechanics turned van thieves who set up a secret “chop shop” to strip down stolen vehicles were foiled when satellite technology led police straight to the site.

Gainsborough's House.

One of the most powerful women in the fashion world is backing a bid to put Gainsborough’s birthplace on the map as a major national tourist attraction.

The woman was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital. Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire


Police are investigating a crash which happened in Beccles yesterday lunchtime.

Thomas Harvey's winning entry in the Landguard Photography Competition 2015.

Stunning photographs of Suffolk’s most southerly point attracted big interest on-line with around 800 people voting for their favourite.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages