A top Tayside chef who was twice caught speeding on the A9 has escaped a driving ban after claiming “exceptional hardship”.
Rikki Preston, executive chef at the five star Fonab Castle Hotel in Pitlochry, blamed immense working pressure and long hours for his offending.
The 45-year-old was clocked as he drove home through the average speed camera set-up between Dalguise and Birnam.
He admitting doing 80mph in his Audi A3 along the 60mph zone on March 12.
And he was caught speeding at 71mph on the same single carriageway stretch two weeks later.
Eighty hour working week
Preston, who already has points on his licence, appeared at Perth’s Justice of the Peace Court on Tuesday for a proof hearing.
The court heard another six points for the two offences could see him disqualified from driving under the totting-up procedure.
“Obviously I take full responsibility,” Preston told the court.
“I work about 80 hours a week.
“I just wasn’t thinking straight at the time.
“The pressure I was under was severe.”
The chef, who lost his job as head chef at the Honours Restaurant in Edinburgh during the pandemic, has a 150-mile commute to and from his home in Kirkton, near Livingston.
He said losing his licence would make it nearly impossible to get to the hotel for a 5am start.
“I would have to take a train to work,” he told fiscal depute Larissa Milligan.
“But there would be no trains at that time.
“I don’t know how I would survive if I lost my job.”
Preston, who said he was in line for a promotion at work, described himself as the “main breadwinner” for his family.
He also needs a car to support his mother in Glasgow and for coaching children’s football teams, he said.
Poor public perception
Justice of the Peace Allan Robertson fined Preston £240 and imposed six penalty points but decided not to ban him from the road.
He said: “The exceptional hardship bar is a high one to reach and it is that way for a good reason.
“We cannot have too many people driving about with more than 12 points on their licence.
“The public perception of that is not a good one.”
He said he had considered a supportive letter from Fonab Castle general manager Peter Sim.
“In my view, this just goes over that bar”, the JP said.
“For that reason, I will allow exceptional hardship in this case.”
JP Robertson warned Preston that any further traffic misdemeanour would result in a ban.
The Category B-listed mansion house dates back to 1892 and operated as a British Red Cross hospital during the First World War.