A drink driver who was found drunk behind the wheel just a week after being caught six times over the limit has been banned for 32 months.
Matthew Willmott, 48, of Lower Voe, was warned at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday he would have been jailed had it not been his first offence.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said it was a “very serious matter” and ordered Willmott, who had pleaded guilty to the two charges to, carry out 200 hours of unpaid work instead.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie told the court Willmott was first caught drink driving on the A970 between Tingwall and Lerwick on 21st August.
Another motorist became so concerned by Willmott’s driving that he alerted police and followed him to keep officers updated on his location.
After pulling Willmott over, officers noticed a “strong smell of alcohol” and recently emptied beer cans in the vehicle, Mr MacKenzie said.
Willmott was arrested and taken to the police station. He gave an alcohol reading or 146 microgrammes per 100ml of breath, which is more than six times the limit.
Just a week later, in the early hours of 28th August, officers on patrol noticed Willmott’s car with its lights on in a layby of the A970 near Voe,
Willmott was in the driving seat, with the keys in the ignition. Although the engine was off at the time, officers noticed a rear brake disk was still warm.
“He was clearly drunk at the time,” said Mr MacKenzie.
Willmott was again arrested and taken to the police station. This time he gave a reading of 97 microgrammes per 100ml of breath, which is almost four times the legal limit.
Mr MacKenzie said the test readings were “extremely high”.
He applied for the sheriff to forfeit Willmott’s car, valued at between £9,850, and £12,835, as part of sentencing.
He said the fact Willmott was caught twice in a week showed he was potentially a “significant risk” to the public, which could be “mitigated by depriving him of access to his motor vehicle”.
“He may well be someone whose judgement is so impaired by his addiction that the risk remains very high,” Mr MacKenzie said.
Defence agent Tommy Allan, in mitigation, said his client’s life had “gone off the rails quite badly” following the breakdown of his marriage and the loss of his job.
“He has simply not been able to cope,” he said.
Mr Allan said Willmott had no prior convictions and “this has been quite a fall from grace”.
“He is terrified about going to jail,” he added.
Mr Allan appealed for the sheriff not to forfeit Willmott’s car, which he was still paying off to a finance company.
He said even at the cheapest estimates it was a “significant penalty to someone who is at the moment going through the process of applying for universal credit”.
“His financial situation in the short-term is fairly bleak,” he added
Sheriff Cruickshank agreed not to forfeit the car, saying the financial impact on Willmott would be “disproportionate”.
He said the community payback order, requiring supervision for 15 months, was an alternative to custodial sentence.
Willmott was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over a year.
He was disqualified from driving for 16 months for each of the two charges, although the period of the ban can be reduced by a quarter if he takes a drink driving awareness course.