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Machinist’s career in tatters after drink-drive shame on A9 and M90

Pert by-pass, Walter Douglas
Walter Douglas admitted drink-driving on the A90 and M90.

A van driver who motored down Perthshire’s busiest roads while more than four times the legal alcohol limit has been told he put lives at risk.

Walter Douglas had a can of gin in his pocket when he was pulled over by police.

Concerned witnesses had reported his “erratic” driving, after watching his van career across the carriageway.

The 53-year-old, from Larkhall, told police he had been drinking the night before.

He appeared at Perth Sheriff Court and pled guilty to driving (93 mics/ 22) along the A9 between Birnam and Broxden and M90, near Bridge of Earn.

The married father-of-one told the court: “I can only apologise. It was a mistake.”

Road ban

Sheriff Mark Stewart QC told Douglas: “You have pled guilty to the offence of driving with excess alcohol.

“Your reading was more than four times the legal limit.

“Clearly, you had been drinking substantial quantities prior to commencing driving.”

Walter Douglas appeared at Perth Sheriff Court

He said: “You were on what is well known to be a very busy road, which has a mixture of traffic from heavy goods vehicles and persons commuting between home and work.

“What you were doing was putting other road users at risk.”

The sheriff added: “I take into account your difficult personal situation.

“However, given the high level of reading, this is a case where a significant disqualification period is appropriate.”

Douglas, of Drygate Street, was fined £750 and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Gin in his pocket

Fiscal depute Nicole Lewis said that at about 3pm, Douglas’ van was spotted “driving erratically” along the A9.

“It was swerving over the road.

“Police were contacted by people who had witnessed this driving.”

Douglas drove from Birnam, to where he was stopped at Bridge of Earn.

The van was pulled over by officers, who spoke to Douglas in the driver’s seat.

“He admitted to consuming alcohol the night before,” said Ms Lewis.

“He was also found with a half-empty can of Edinburgh Gin in his pocket.”

The court heard he was taken to Dundee police HQ, where his breath test result was recorded.

Job loss

Solicitor Paul Ralph, defending, said: “He works as a machine operator and he will almost certainly lose his employment, following this plea of guilty.

“He lives some 25 miles from his base of operations and he doesn’t expect that his employers are going to be able to accommodate him.”

Mr Ralph added: “This has just topped off a terrible year for Mr Douglas.”

He said that his job was under pressure as a result of the pandemic and his father had died as a direct result of Covid-19.

“I’m afraid the accumulation of this had led to him to develop a tendency to drink to excess in the evenings.

“I’m pleased to report he has now got a grip on himself and has a much more stable outlook.”

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