Drink-driver caught behind wheel of 40-tonne lorry at ferry port

Operation Dragonfly is focused on drink and drug-driving SUS-141224-111002001
Operation Dragonfly is focused on drink and drug-driving SUS-141224-111002001

A haulier was caught driving his lorry away from a ferry at Newhaven while more than three times the drink-drive limit.

Newhaven Port staff called police after seeing that Roman Kopytov, who was drunk, was preparing to drive his 40-tonne Mercedes articulated vehicle off a ferry at about 10.15pm on June 20.

Officers persuaded Kopytov to get out of the cab and a member of the port staff drove the lorry off the ship.

While police were making inquiries, the port worker jumped out of the cab leaving the engine running so the lorry could be parked safely.

Kopytov, who was unsteady on his feet, then climbed back behind the wheel of his lorry and began to drive it away again so police had to park their vehicle in front of the lorry to block it in while an officer got Kopytov out of the cab again.

The 37-year-old, from Lithuania, pleaded guilty to drink-driving when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on June 22.

He had 107 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of his breath - more than three times the 35 microgrammes legal limit.

Inspector Stewart Goodwin, of Sussex and Surrey roads policing unit, said: “If the port staff had not been so alert, Kopytov could have driven off the ferry and into Sussex when he was clearly in no fit state to be behind the wheel.

“Drink-driving in any vehicle puts people at risk but doing so in a lorry is extraordinarily dangerous.

“We need people to do exactly as the port staff did if they suspect someone is not fit to drive. If you have any concerns at all, call us immediately.”

Kopytov was banned from driving for 24 months, fined £285 and ordered to pay £235 costs and a £29 victim surcharge.

A total of 96 people have so far been convicted of offences as part of Sussex Police’s summer 2015 Operation Dragonfly drink and drug-driving campaign.

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug driving or visit www.operationcrackdown.co.uk.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

To keep up to date with officers looking for drink or drug drivers, follow #opdragonfly on Twitter.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs call 999.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.sussexexpress.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Sussex-Express/

3) Follow us on Twitter @sussex_express

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Sussex Express - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.