Drink-driving leads to demotion for serviceman

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A SERVICEMAN from Wattisham Airfield was demoted after driving more than three times the drink-drive limit, a court heard.

Keith Hardie, 31, was accompanied by a warrant officer from the base when he attended Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

Prosecuting, Ian Devine said it was in the early hours of August 25 when Hardie’s car was spotted crossing the central white lines in Barking Road.

He was stopped by police and breathalysed, recording 106 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

“Since the incident, I have been to drink rehabilitation and I haven’t had a drop of alcohol,” Hardie told the court.

A representative from the probation service said Hardie had been drinking in Ipswich and had intended to get a lift back to the base where he lived but ‘in a moment of madness’ had decided to drive his car instead.

She said Hardie realised he had ‘a drink problem’ as he drank daily, sometimes as much as 16 cans, but that he had managed to put himself though a detox programme in hospital and had abstained from alcohol ever since.

“The culture of drinking goes with his job,” she told the court, adding that Hardie had recently been promoted to corporal but, after committing the drink-drive offence, had been demoted.

Whilst praising the ‘great lengths’ he had gone to seek help, District Judge Celia Dawson told Hardie: “You were an absolute danger to other road users.”

Hardie was banned from driving for two years, to be reduced by six months on completion of a driver’s rehabilitation course, and given a 12 month community order, to include supervision and alcohol treatment.

He was also ordered to pay £85 in costs.