[A] Cumbrian farm worker who drove a large green tractor into Carlisle to buy a pizza after he hadn’t eaten all day has been found guilty of drink-driving.
Luke Cockburn, 27, now of no fixed abode parked on The Crescent in the city centre and went to order a pizza, he paid for it was told it would take up to one-hour, he returned to the tractor, just as two-police officers parked behind him, magistrates sitting in Carlisle were told the officers smelt what they thought was cannabis and alcohol.
Cockburn was asked to take a roadside breathalyser which he failed and was arrested in the early hours of Christmas Eve, December 24, he was taken to Durranhill Police station where he gave an evidential breathalyser reading of 53mg in 100ml of breath, the legal limit is 35.
A Police officer told the court during the trial he was on mobile patrol and noticed a tractor been driven along Warwick Road, he watched it park-up and checked the details of the tractor and insurance, these came back okay, but still suspicious seeing a tractor at that time of night they went around the block and then parked beside the tractor unit.
That was when Cockburn met the officers on the pavement and was when the officers smelt alcohol and a cannabis smell, the driver told police he had been given 4-bottles of Desperado and drank 2 bottles, he was given these earlier on as a Christmas present.
Another officer was called to the scene to administer a drugs-swipe, the court was told this proved positive.
Cockburn admitted in court he had drank the two bottles before he parked up, and he used cannabis every day for a number of years, he alleged in court that on the way to custody the officers were laughing at him and making remarks and this annoyed him, this was refuted by the officers in court, a comment was also made that officers never searched his tractor for drink or drugs.
Cockburn who represented himself also admitted having a “smoke” in the police vehicle on the way to custody and also kicking the door, he went on to say he paid for the Pizza but didn’t get it as he was arrested. He told the magistrates with all the publicity this case attracted earlier on, he lost his job and accommodation, and is now homeless.
The trial lasted just under three-hours; the magistrates took over 35-minutes in deliberation and found he was guilty of drink-driving and disqualified him for 14-months with a fine of £180, trial court costs of £620 with a £30 victims surcharge, he was offered the drink-drivers rehabilitation course this would reduce the ban by 14-weeks.
When outside of the court room Cockburn said he might appeal the sentence.