Drink driver had been in search of northern lights

A man set off in his car last night after hearing the northern lights were out.

But Christopher John Woodroffe instead ended up looking at the inside of a police cell when he was arrested for drink driving.

Woodroffe, 30, of Oxford Road, Ramsbury, Wiltshire, now faces the likelihood of losing his job as an account manager for a wine supplier after he was banned from driving for a year and fined £500 at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Appearing from custody before Honorary Sheriff Willie Shannon, Woodroffe admitted driving with 73 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes.

The offence happened at around 2am this morning near the Herrislea Hill junction at Gott.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said police had been acting on information from a member of the public concerned by Woodroffe’s driving.

Officers searched for, located and stopped the car. Woodroffe failed the roadside screening test, was arrested and taken to the police station, before spending the rest of the night in the cells.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Woodroffe was due to get married in August, and the couple were expecting their first child.

“He had been out drinking. He had always had the notion that he would like to see the northern lights, and had seen on TV that they might be visible. He made the stupid decision to get in his car and go and look for them.”

The defence agent added Woodroffe expected to lose his job of two years, which, he said, would put his wedding plans in jeopardy.

He added Woodroffe lived in a very rural part of England, and was not sure what other employment opportunities there might be.

“This decision to take the car when he had been drinking is something he will live to regret for quite some time.”
He urged Honorary Sheriff Shannon to take account of Woodroffe’s early plea, and the fact he had spent the night in custody, which he described as a “fairly sobering experience”.

Woodroffe’s fine was reduced from £750. He can also cut the length of his driving ban if he completes a drink driving rehabilitation course.


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