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Drink-driver from Swindon who went wrong way down the M4 is handed suspended sentences

27-year-old Christopher Duggan was more than twice the legal limit. Credit: Wiltshire Police/PA

A man from Swindon who drove the wrong way down the M4 while more than double the drink-drive limit has been handed two suspended sentences and been banned from driving for 18 months.

PC Jay Clifton, a roads policing officer on duty at the time, said it was "one of the most terrifying experiences" of his 16 years working in traffic.

Christopher Duggan was stopped by police before Membury services on 3 February after driving in the wrong direction along the hard shoulder of the westbound carriageway.

His breath test showed 82 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, more than twice the legal limit of 35.

The 27-year-old appeared before Swindon Crown Court earlier this week charged with dangerous driving and drink driving. He pleaded guilty to both offences.

He was given a 10-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving and one-month suspended sentence for drink driving. He's also been banned for 18 months and will carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work.

Duggan was fined £600 in prosecution costs, paid a £140 victim surcharge and will also be expected to complete an extended driving test before getting his licence back.

Duggan has been handed two suspended sentences. Credit: Wiltshire Police

PC Jay Clifton spotted Duggan's Saab 900 at around 5am when parked in a marked police car at junction 16.

He alerted other officers while following Duggan on the opposite side of the road before attempting to intercept him on the westbound side.

The 27-year-old then drove at high speed directly towards PC Clifton's car and left the M4 at junction 15. He ignored a second no-entry sign on an exit slip and rejoined the motorway against the flow of traffic.

It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my 16 years working in traffic - and one of the worst examples of driving I have ever seen. He drove directly at me and other members of the public with a complete disregard for his own life and that of other road users around him.

– PC Jay Clifton, Wiltshire Police

PC Clifton said Duggan "was extremely lucky that no one was injured and lives were not ruined as a result of his behaviour."

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon PCC, said: "No one should be misled by this court result. In most cases like this - drink drive offences coupled with such dangerous driving - result in a prison sentence and rightly so."

He said the court must have "considered there to be very significant mitigation" when they decided not to enforce a custodial sentence.