Four-year ban for chip shop owner’s second drink-driving offence
- Credit: Archant � 2011
A Suffolk chip shop owner has been banned from the road for four years and fined £3,500 after drink-driving for a second time.
David Wardas, who runs Halesworth Fish and Chips, in London Road, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich on Monday to admit driving his Jaguar X-Type with 97 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mcg.
The 59-year-old was banned for 28 months in September 2012 after being caught on a motorbike in Cumbria with 112mcg of alcohol in his breath, having ridden a from Suffolk the morning after drinking wine.
On March 30 this year, Wardas was followed along London Road, Halesworth, by two off-duty police officers, who had concerns about his driving, according to prosecutor Lesla Small, due to an oncoming vehicle having to “take evasive action to avoid a head-on collision”.
“The other driver swerved and sounded their horn,” she said.
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“Officers followed Mr Wardas to the Co-op, where he made an admission to drinking alcohol, and failed a roadside breath test when uniformed officers arrived.”
Ms Small explained Wardas must face a minimum three-year disqualification for being convicted of drink-driving on two occasions within 10 years.
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Wardas argued the off-duty officers were “driving aggressively” behind him, adding: “As far as heading towards oncoming traffic was concerned, there were cars parked on my side of the road, but I was far and away ahead of oncoming traffic, so I had the right of way.
“My speed wasn’t excessive and they only followed me 200 yards.”
The court heard Wardas had completed a “stressful and busy” evening’s work at about 9.30pm and drank a bottle of wine – given to him as a gift by a customer – before deciding to drive a mile away to walk his dog.
Wardas told the probation service he had not consumed alcohol since the day of the offence, before which he drank only at weekends, and never to excess.
He declared himself ineligible and unwilling to carry out community service because he worked six days a week and would be embarrassed to be seen in charity shop by people he knew.
Wardas told magistrates the chip shop made up to £2,500 a week, but that business varied, and that he drew only £100 to pay for diesel and food.