By Jo Toscano
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A MAN has been banned from driving for three years after getting behind the wheel of a toy car when drunk.
Paul Hutton, 40, leapt into the seat of the tiny electric Barbie car, which has a top speed of just 4mph, when he was over the limit.
But a police patrol car spotted 6ft Mr Hutton crammed behind the steering wheel, crawling along the road near his home in Jaywick, near Clacton, and pulled him over.
Mr Hutton, who has four children, Simon, 17, Calum, 14, Laina, 12, and John, 11, admitted being a “complete twit” after he ended up in front of Colchester magistrates.
The divorcee is a former RAF aeronautical engineer who now studies electrical engineering at Colchester Institute.
He picked up the pink Barbie car found dumped near his home about 10 years ago and had been tinkering with it ever since.
But he started stripping it down and rebuilding it with his eldest son Simon about eight months ago.
He said: “It was a little project I was doing with my son who is doing a car mechanics course.
“When it was done, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take it out – it is fun to drive. I wanted to show my friend.”
Mr Hutton said he had been having a few drinks while working on the 4ft by 2ft electric car but when he decided to take it out at about 9pm, he did not realise how drunk he was.
The white mini jeep, which he could only drive with his knees tucked up under his chin, runs on 12v batteries and goes slower than a mobility scooter.
He said: “I had a few beers while I was working on the car but I felt okay.
“The police car came up alongside me and the officer said, ‘Are you all right there, mate?’ A lot of burble came out.”
Mr Hutton added: “I really didn’t realise I should not be doing it.
“I knew it was daft, but I didn’t realise it was a criminal thing to do.”
Mr Hutton said he was found to be twice the drink-drive limit. Appearing before magistrates last week, he admitted driving the toy car while drunk.
He was given a mandatory three-year ban because he had received another drink-drive ban within the past 10 years.
Magistrates also gave him a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 court costs. The car was confiscated but Mr Hutton hopes he can get it back.