Rugby club parking manoeuvre leads to driving ban

North Somerset Courthouse.

North Somerset Courthouse. - Credit: Archant

A BUSINESS director at a North Somerset tourist attraction has been banned from getting behind the wheel for 23 months and ordered to pay £1,000 after a drink-driving offence.

Alistair Mead, the 36-year-old manager of Puxton Park, pleaded guilty at North Somerset Courthouse last year and reappeared in court on Wednesday for a special measures hearing.

Mead, of Ebdon Lane in Wick St Lawrence, was arrested on November 16 after driving his wife’s Volkswagen Passat in Winscombe Rugby Club car park, in The Lynch, on November 16.

A breath test conducted by police showed there was 90 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his breath on the night - around two-and-a-half times the legal limit.

Emma Martin, for the defence, said there were special reasons in this case, due to the shortness of distance travelled and that Mead had no intention of driving away.

You may also want to watch:

Courtney Daley, prosecuting, said Police Constable Matthew Bailey saw Mead manoeuvring to get out of the car park.

PC Bailey said: “The defendant was, in my opinion, in a very drunken state.

Most Read

“At 10pm I reached the rugby club car park and noticed a vehicle reversing and then stall. Then I saw it restart and shuffle forwards as if to go to the exit.”

PC Bailey said he shouted at the vehicle to stop and Mead stepped out of the car and was arrested.

He said: “In reply to the caution he said ‘I know, I should not have done it’.”

Ms Martin told the court Mead had only intended to move his vehicle closer to the entrance as he knew there would be a rugby tournament the following day and it would be difficult to get out.

Mead said: “I had arranged to stay at my best friend’s house in Winscombe. By about 9pm I had had seven or eights pints of beer and I thought I would just disappear and go to the kebab house. It was freezing cold so I sat in the car to eat.

“I wish I went straight back to the Woodborough (Inn) but I wanted to move the car closer to the exit.”

Mead said when he was approached by the officer he shouted out and told him he was moving the car.

The court also heard from Mead’s wife Ann, from a written statement made in December. She said: “Alistair rarely gets the opportunity to drink as we focus our time on working and spending time together as a family.

“We both feel very strongly against drink driving and would never contemplate risking anyone’s life as a result of drink driving.”

The court also heard from Mead’s friend, David Thompson, and chairman of the rugby club, Steven Bridges, who described him as an ‘excellent’ and ‘responsible’ man.

Chair of the magistrates bench, Robert Gough, said: “The only person that has given evidence of your intentions is yourself. There is no evidence from the policeman that your intention was to move the car to a different space even though you had the opportunity to do so.

“We cannot be satisfied that you did not intend to drive any further or that you needed to move the vehicle.”

Mead was banned from driving for 23 months, fined £545 and ordered to pay court costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £55.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter