A MAYOBRIDGE man caught driving his tractor while three and a half times the drink drive limit has been banned from the roads.
Seamus Rice, 60, of Ballydoo Road was convicted of driving with excess alcohol in his breath at Banbridge Magistrates' Court.
The court heard that on 2 February this year, police received a report of a red coloured tractor on the Old Road in Mayobridge with a suspected drink driver at the wheel.
Rice was identified by the witness and police attended his address, observing a red tractor with the same registration plate as given to them sitting in the driveway.
The engine of the tractor was warm to touch and the keys were in the ignition.
When police spoke to Rice he was unsteady on his feet, his eyes were bloodshot and glazed and his speech was difficult to understand.
He failed a preliminary breath test and was arrested and brought to Banbridge police station where he gave a lower reading of 123 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, three and a half times the legal limit of 35 micrograms.
Rice made a full admission to police during interview.
Commenting, District Judge Keown said: “At that level [of alcohol in your breath] you have no control over what you are doing and as a result you have zero control over your ability not to cause harm to other people.”
Defending, Conor Byrne said his client “accepts he was totally wrong”.
He added that Rice had “struggled with alcohol previously and had been doing well”, noting he had regained the licence following a previous period of disqualification.
Addressing Rice ahead of sentencing, Judge Keown said: “Alcoholism is a real curse and it’s going to kill you if you don’t get a handle on it.”
He then disqualified him from driving for three years and ordered him to serve nine months on probation.