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Wick man tried to drive onto ferry while five times the drink-drive limit

By Court Reporter

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A Wick man's decision to drive after going to the pub while waiting for a ferry in Orkney has cost him his job, his licence and a £1000 fine.

Graham Robert Webster was more than five times over the limit as he headed to Shetland to start a 10-day shift as a self-employed plant operator, Kirkwall Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday.

After arriving in Kirkwall about 3pm on August 17, he decided to head to a bar to kill time before the overnight sailing to Lerwick.

Procurator fiscal Sue Foard said the 56-year-old attracted the attention of staff when he turned up at the check-in desk about 11.30pm.

"He was slurring his words and had to prop himself up," said the fiscal.

After leaving the terminal building at Hatson pier, he was seen getting in his car and driving on to the ferry.

Ms Foard said a staff member was concerned about his appearance and believed he was under the influence.

Webster was stopped, his car keys removed and police contacted.

He produced a positive roadside test and was later found to have a breath/alcohol count of 117 microgrammes of alcohol, compared with the legal limit of 22mcg.

Ms Foard said in view of the high reading, the Crown is seeking forfeiture of the car.

Webster, of Scalesburn, Wick, admitted the offence.

Solicitor Cheryl Beattie said Webster's initial plan had been to leave the car in Orkney.

But after arriving in Kirkwall, he had gone to a pub in the town and had then "taken the very poor decision" to take the car on to the ferry.

Webster had shortly before bought the car for £500 to help him travel to and from Shetland.

But as a result of the offence, he had lost the contract and was now looking for other work.

Ms Beattie questioned the benefit of forfeiting the car as she believed the cost of the process could exceed the value of the vehicle.

Sheriff Robert MacDonald said the sentence has to reflect the "very, very high" reading.

As well as the £1000 fine, he imposed a £40 victim surcharge and disqualified Webster from driving for 16 months.

He will be able to get his licence back four months earlier if he completes an accredited drink-driver's rehabilitation course.

The sheriff opted not to forfeit the car.

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