Police took keys from drink driver, court told

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POLICE snatched car keys from a driver who tried to give his ex-wife a lift after drinking almost three times the legal limit, a court has heard.

Officers on the beat in Nottingham Road, Ripley, at 2.15am on October 29 saw Neil Lichfield get out of a Rover MGZR near the Midland pub and attempt to help a woman get up off the ground.

“He said it was his ex-wife.

“He appeared to be drunk, though he denied having had anything to drink,” prosecutor Becky Mahon told Chesterfield magistrates.

“The female got to her feet and began to cross the road. He was unsteady on his feet and the officer took the keys after he climbed back into the vehicle.”

Lichfield, 46, went on to give a reading of 100mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath, the limit being 35mcgs.

Probation officer Hannah Quigley told the court Lichfield had been looking after his children at his ex-wife’s home while she went out.

“He says he fell asleep and was woken up by a call from her, screaming and crying and asking for a lift home.

He made an impulsive decision to collect her, leaving the children with an 18-year-old,” said Ms Quigley in court.

She added that he had worked at Denby Pottery for 23 years but was now unemployed and living with his parents in Old Road, Heage.

Lichfield admitted drink-driving.

He had no previous convictions.

He was ordered to do 90 hours unpaid work, with £85 costs, and received a two-year road ban, to be cut to 18 months if he passes a drink-driving rehabilitation course.

“It was a silly mistake.

“It was on impulse and I regret it.

“I’ve been driving for 28 years and it was just one of those things,” said Lichfield.