Suspected drunk driver 'had to have his shoes put back on by police', court hears

12.04.23 Richard Thomline Credit: NCJ Media
Richard Thomline claimed he was not behind the wheel at the time of the offence. Credit: NCJ Media

A suspected drink driver who skidded on ice and collided with a truck appeared so intoxicated that he had to have his shoes put on by police officers, a court has heard.

On 13 December 2022, Richard Thomline's vehicle skidded into a parked truck in a Northumberland car park.

The truck owner phoned the police and ended up in an argument with Thomline and another male at the scene.

Thomline, a 38-year-old steeplejack of Kayspure Drive, Peebles, said he had consumed alcohol after the accident took place and before the police arrived on the scene.

He also said at the time of the accident he had not been behind the wheel while under the influence.

After his arrest, Thomline, who has three offences on his record, refused to provide a breath sample and failed to attend court in January this year.

However, on Tuesday (11 April), he entered a guilty plea for failing to provide a specimen of breath and failing to surrender to custody at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court, Bedlington.

The court heard that Thomline gave three breath samples at Middle Engine Lane Police Station, in Wallsend, but they were all deemed inadequate or void.

Mr Thomline's vehicle skid on ice and collided with a truck in a Northumberland car park on 13 December, 2022. Credit: NCJ Media

Prosecutor Rehana Haque said: "The defendant was extremely intoxicated. Officers had to put his shoes on. He was arrested."

Ms Haque explained that Thomline refused to provide further specimens and alleged he ignored an officer's instrcutions.

Meanwhile, Stewart Hay, mitigating, said Thomline had not showed up for his initial court hearing as he'd been stuck working in London.

Mr Hay added: "He'd finished a 12-hour shift on the day in question and was extremely tired. He and a colleague went to a supermarket and bought alcohol then they went back to the car park and returned to their hotel.

"His vehicle slid. It did touch another vehicle. There were quite strong words exchanged and he went into the hotel and went to bed."

Mr Hay continued: "He drank five cans of Stella in his room and took his medication. When police arrived, it was after he had drank the alcohol.

"He tried three times to blow into the breath machine. He told them he had nothing left inside him. He was well and truly intoxicated by that time. He was also tired and had taken his medication."

Thomline was fined £500 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £200 victim surcharge. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...