Excess alcohol man said engine was on ‘for heat’

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A lawyer for a man who pleaded guilty to being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in his breath claimed the engine was switched on to keep warm while he looked for his wallet in a glove box at 12.20am.

And the legal representative said Waldermar Pawlowski (34), of Dunclug Park, Ballymena, was not aware he was committing an offence when he nipped into the vehicle.

A prosecutor said on January 2 this year police saw a Vectra in a layby and saw a male with both hands on the steering wheel who was looking straight ahead with the keys in the ignition and the engine running.

When asked to switch the car off he put the keys in his pocket, identified himself and said he wasn’t driving. He had an alcohol/breath reading of 55/35.

He told police he went to the car to get his wallet in a glovebox and denied he had put the keys in the ignition.

The defence lawyer told Ballymena Magistrates Court his client is admitting the being in charge allegation.

The lawyer said the defendant had walked to his sister’s house and had a drink and then remembered he left his wallet in the car and was concerned about leaving it there as he had twice been the victim of thieves.

He said his client got into the vehicle through the driver’s door because access to the other door was blocked and had no intention of driving and had only been there for one or two minutes looking for documentation and the ignition was on to provide heat.

The defendant was banned from driving for three months and fined £250.