Homesick man gets three-year driving ban

PUBLISHED: 16:36 18 October 2006 | UPDATED: 13:33 04 May 2010

HOMESICK Kenneth Higgins hit the bottle at weekends to help him cope with his loneliness -- and last week was found driving with an alcohol level almost four times the legal limit. Police spotted Higgins car veering across the road as they followed him a

HOMESICK Kenneth Higgins hit the bottle at weekends to help him cope with his loneliness -- and last week was found driving with an alcohol level almost four times the legal limit.

Police spotted Higgins' car veering across the road as they followed him along the A142 on the outskirts of Soham, and when he stopped they were met with an overwhelming smell of booze.

"He was slouched in his seat, he was uncoordinated and unsteady on his feet," prosecutor Sally Hickling told Ely magistrates on Thursday.

When asked if he had been drinking, Higgins said: "I have had a few, I won't lie." His breath test reading was 133 mcgs of alcohol in 100 mls of breath -- when the legal limit is 35 mcgs.

Higgins, who lives in a caravan at the Shade Industrial Estate in Soham, admitted drink-driving. He had stopped his car in Barcham Road after police used their car's blue flashing lights to bring him to a halt.

Pleading with the court not to jail Higgins, solicitor Jacqui Baldwin explained that Higgins had come from Ireland, and was working in Soham as an overhead linesman.

"He had been drinking the night before, and clearly topped up his reading," she said. "He had driven only a short distance, less than two miles. No one else was put at risk, but he accepts by his behaviour that he put himself at risk."

She said Higgins had felt lonely at weekends, and had been drinking heavily.

"This was something out of character as far as he is concerned, it is something that will not be repeated, he has shown clear remorse."

Higgins was banned from driving for 36 months, he must perform 100 hours unpaid community work and pay £50 costs.

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