Barnham plumber caught drink-driving twice in three days

A plumber from Barnham has been convicted in court after being caught drink-driving twice in three days.

At about 11.40am on Saturday, March 28, police stopped a white Ford Transit van in Westergate Street, Westergate, following 'reports the driver could be under the influence of alcohol'.

Sussex Police said the driver was identified as Leigh Banks, 42, a plumber, of Wentworth Close, Barnham.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

A spokesperson added: "He was required to undergo a roadside breath test, which he failed. He was subsequently arrested and charged with driving with 148mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system – more than four times the legal limit of 35mcg.


"Banks was released on unconditional bail to appear before magistrates in May.

"However, three days later on Tuesday, March 31 – his 42nd birthday – he came to officers’ attention again. He had been reported for breaching coronavirus social distancing rules by attending another person’s address in nearby Warren Way."

Police attended, and 'due to the fact he had been drinking', they gave him a lift home.

Officers remained in the area and 'just 20 minutes later', Banks was seen to return to Warren Way, 'where he got into his vehicle and started the engine'.

"Again, he was required to undergo a roadside breath test, which he failed," the spokesperson continued. "He was arrested and charged with driving with 142mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system – more than four times the legal limit once more.

"On this occasion, Banks was remanded in custody to appear before Brighton Magistrates’ Court the following day (Wednesday, April 1)."

Banks was sentenced to a total of 20 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from driving for three years, police confirmed. He was also required to pay £85 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.

PC Tom Van Der Wee, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number of vehicles on our roads since these social distancing measures were introduced.

"But while the volume of traffic may have changed in recent weeks, the law hasn’t – it remains an extremely serious offence to get behind the wheel when over the limit for drink or drugs.

“Drink and drug-driving destroys lives, and it’s more important now than ever – when hospitals are already stretched to their limits – that people take responsibility and do not increase the burden on the NHS.

“Key workers are doing a fantastic job across the country, and we can all play our part in helping them to help save lives.”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

Thank you for reading this story on our website.

But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well. With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy.

Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.

As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.

In addition, please write to your MP urging the Government to provide some additional financial support for local newspapers and their websites like this one and ensuring that supermarkets continue to stock them. I cannot stress enough how important such an intervention would be.

We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.