Grantham court: Former sergeant drove lorry over drink limit

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A former army sergeant who said he used alcohol to deal with what he saw while on active service appeared in court charged with driving an HGV over the limit on the A1.

Darren Prett, 40, of Highfield Grove, Allerton-by-Water pleaded guilty to driving with 71 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Paul Wood, prosecuting, detailed how on May 28 at just before 4pm a 24 tonne Scania lorry was pulled over by police on the A1 northbound near Stoke Rochford because it had a faulty rear light.

Prett, who had been driving since 6.41 that morning, smelt of alcohol and so was breathalysed and after recording the high reading was taken to Grantham police station.

Giles Tyas, defending, explained how Prett had drunk a few cans of beer the night before and one can with his lunch, not realising he would be over the limit.

He added this his client was a former alcoholic but had not touched a drop of alcohol since this incident, as a result of which he had lost his job as a HGV driver.

Moreover this had left him and his fiancee in financial difficulties and having to put their wedding planned for next year on hold.

Fourteen years earlier Prett had performed active service as a sergeant in the army, and Tyas told the court: “He used alcohol to cope with some of the things he saw.”

In order for a pre-sentence report on the defendant to be compiled, Grantham magistrates adjourned the case to July 9 and referred it to Wakefield and Pontefract Magistrates’ Court, with Prett remaining on unconditional bail but with an interim driving disqualification.