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Drink driver ‘puts Pc’s life at risk’

A 56-YEAR-OLD drink driver who forced a policeman to jump out of the way had been on a liquid lunch' in Bradford on Avon.

This Is Lancashire:

Robert Semple, of The Street, Holt, admitted dangerous driving at Swindon Crown Court on Friday and was sentenced to a six-month jail term, suspended for two years.

Semple, who was convicted of drink driving 16-years-ago, was also ordered to complete 80 hours community service.

Stacey Turner, prosecuting, said Semple's Renault Megane was spotted parked on a double yellow line in St Margaret's Street shortly after 3.30pm on September 7.

After watching for ten minutes a police officer saw the defendant come out of a betting office and get into the 53-reg vehicle.

She said: "The officer came towards him shouting to get his attention. He was ignored as the defendant got in and started the engine.

"He banged on the window and told him to turn it off. He ignored him and made to move off causing the officer to effectively jump out of the way."

Semple drove away from the scene but was arrested after his vehicle was spotted in the station car park area.

He was taken to the police station and found to have 104mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Sarah Regan, defending, said the offence took place when her client was suffering from the onset of diabetes. "It was brought about by drinking at lunchtime while not eating," she said.

"That doesn't afford him an excuse but it is clear those two elements came together on that afternoon and resulted in these disastrous consequences.

"He is mortified by his actions on that day, he is very aware of what the potential consequences could have been."

As well as being parked on a double yellow line she said his tax disc was out of date and he had waited for the officer to disappear before getting into his car.

As a result of the incident Semple's wife had left him briefly but he had tackled his drinking and they were back together.

Judge Tom Longbotham said: "You put a police officer's life at risk. Police officers carrying out their duty must be protected.

"If people behind the wheel of motor cars drive at police officers putting them in danger of injury or their life causing them to jump out of the way the likely penalty is going to be prison sentence."

Semple was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £300 court costs.



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