Drink-driver blames wife

Operation Dragonfly is focused on drink and drug-driving
Operation Dragonfly is focused on drink and drug-driving

A DRINK-driver ploughed into a parked car after his work Christmas party – then blamed his wife.

Michael Richards smashed into a van as he travelled eastbound in Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham, shortly before 6am on December 20.

When police officers arrived and asked the 38-year-old how much he had had to drink, Richards said ‘lots’. He added: “I was only driving to get away from the wife.”

He later explained that he had drunk five or six pints of lager at the Christmas party but had then had an argument with his partner and had got behind the wheel to go to buy cigarettes.

In Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham, he lost control of his Ford Focus and crashed into a parked Mercedes van.

Richards, of Greentrees Crescent, Sompting, pleaded guilty at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to drink-driving. He was banned from driving for 17 months and ordered to pay a £350 fine, £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.

Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas, from Surrey and Sussex roads policing unit, said: “Richards is a good example of someone who knew he shouldn’t be drink-driving but decided to chance his arm - and got caught out.

“He walked home from his Christmas party but then thought he could get away with nipping to the shop in his car, despite being well over the limit.

“Drink-driving will not be tolerated and officers are out every day looking for offenders like Richards who take the selfish decision to risk the safety of other people to save themselves some time or money.

“If you decide to drink and drive, you should plan to be caught, prosecuted and banned from the roads.”

A total of 55 people have so far been convicted after being arrested as part of Operation Dragonfly, Sussex Police’s December drink and drug-driving crackdown.