A JUDGE has slammed a man who got behind the wheel of the Safe Bus while under the influence of alcohol and drove it in Bournemouth town centre.
Alexander Farrell, 23, was part of a group who were “larking” about, managed to get into the vehicle, which is usually located in the Horseshoe Common area, and start the engine.
Poole Magistrates’ Court heard there were 15 passengers from the group onboard the Safe Bus when the defendant was driving it.
The vehicle is a joint venture between Dorset Police, South Western Ambulance Service and the council which provides a safe haven for people who may be injured, in distress or the victim of a crime while on a night out.
Farrell pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle which had been taken without the owner’s consent, drink driving, driving without the relevant licence and using a vehicle without insurance.
At a sentencing hearing at Poole Magistrates’ Court on November 24, District Judge Michael Snow told the defendant: “I imagine to you this is all a bit of a laugh.”
“These are serious criminal offences."
Judge Snow said the people who were on the bus with the defendant were put at risk by his actions while he was under the influence of alcohol.
Farrell also risked putting the Safe Bus, which helps keep pressure off emergency services, out of action, the judge said.
“You are not a child,” Judge Snow said. “You are 23 years old. You are old enough to know much, much better than this.”
The court was told Farrell, of Crondall Road, Crookham Village in Hampshire, was not the member of the group who broke into the Safe Bus on July 3.
When he stopped driving the vehicle and parked, all of the party ran off from the scene.
The defendant, who had no previous convictions later provided a sample of breath to police it was found to contain 59 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35 micrograms.
It was submitted on Farrell’s behalf that he accepted he had too much to drink and he was not thinking clearly.
The court was told he was remorseful for what he had done.
Farrell was ordered to pay a total court bill of £1,394 along with a community order, which required him to stay at his home address from 7pm to 6am for eight weeks.
The defendant was disqualified from driving for 16 months.
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