Lancashire police officer faces sack in booze shame
A Lancashire police officer has been convicted of drink driving while on duty after a court heard he was sinking a bottle of vodka a day.
Iain Norton, 41, is now facing the sack from Lancashire Police after being caught drink driving behind the wheel of a police van in March this year.
Norton, from Wesham, was snared by a custody sergeant as he booked in a suspect, Furness Magistrates Court in barrow heard today (Monday 8th August, 2016).
Peter Kelly, defending, told the court: “Mr Norton came on duty at Blackpool Police Station at 8am and was tasked with driving a Vauxhall Vivaro.
“At about 1.30pm he had to take a suspected shoplifter from TK Maxx to Blackpool Police Station.
“He spoke to the custody sergeant who had concerns that he was displaying signs of having consumed alcohol.”
Norton was then handed over to the inspector and was breathalysed and found to have 57 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
Mr Kelly continued: “Mr Norton said that the last time he had a drink was late the night before.
“He was up until 2am drinking lager and vodka.
“He got up at 6.45am and went to work at 7.30am.
“During the morning he had consumed a drink from a bottle which he believed to contain Lilt.
“He had forgotten his swipe card so went back home to get it and grabbed a bag of crisps and the drink out of the fridge.”
When interviewed, Norton apologised to his colleagues saying “I know it’s not brilliant.”
Chris Fallows, defending, told the court that his client had enjoyed a glittering 20-year-long career and even won a number of commendations, including one for bravery when he pulled an out-of-control banned dog off a woman.
However, Mr Fallows said that his client’s “fall from grace” came about when a number of issues led to Norton consuming 70cl of vodka a day.
He said: “In 2007, his mother tried to take her own life in a somewhat horrific attempt. He also suffered a burglary, where his car was stolen and later his dog was run over and killed.
“He then separated from his wife and his three children went with their mother.
“In 2010 he started a new relationship with a former partner but that was an abusive relationship but not by his hands.”
Mr Fallows went on to explain that the defendant is now seeking help for his problem and has been put on a special detox programme and is accepting counselling.
District Judge, Gerald Clark, order Norton to pay an £800 fine, £600 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £80. He was also banned from the road for 18 months.
Mr Clark said: “You are a serving police officer with a duty of care to the general public.
“What concerns me is on that day you started driving at 8am but a breath sample wasn’t taken until several hours after that.”
Norton was suspended by Lancashire Police following his arrest and will now face further misconduct hearings.