A drink-driver who crashed into 14 parked cars in Eastbourne has been convicted in court.
Police were called to the incident in Sydney Road shortly after 9.30pm on 5 January.
Officers attended and discovered damage to numerous vehicles, two of which were hit so hard they had spun around and were facing the opposite way in the middle of the road. A garden wall was also demolished.
Shortly afterwards, a witness reported seeing a man pull up at an address in Beatty Road in a damaged Land Rover.
After there was no answer at the flat in question, police forced entry and found the suspect inside.
He was identified as Graham Allen, a removals operative, of Beatty Road, Eastbourne.
The 56-year-old was arrested and charged with driving with 71mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system (the legal limit being 35mcg); and being the driver of a vehicle whereby an accident occurred and damage was caused to 14 vehicles and a wall, and failed to stop.
In police interview, Allen stated he had been out drinking with friends, but did not count the number of drinks he had consumed. He claims he intended to retrieve his coat from his vehicle, but then decided to drive in a “moment of madness”.
He pleaded guilty to both offences at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 17 April, where he was disqualified from driving for 20 months and sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also fined £450, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.
Sergeant Vicki Rees, of the East Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is extremely dangerous and it can have dire consequences. Last year in Sussex, a total of 74 people were killed or seriously injured as a result of a collision involving a drink-driver.
“The level of damage caused in this case was clearly extensive, and had there been a pedestrian or a cyclist in the road at the time, it could have been a whole different story.
“Receiving a criminal conviction for drink or drug-driving can have a sobering effect on offenders, who often express remorse for their actions. However, the dangers of drink or drug-driving are well documented, and it shouldn’t take a court appearance to make them realise that.
“Our message is clear – drink OR drive; never both.”
If you’re prepared to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, prepare to face the consequences. These could include the following:
A minimum 12 month ban;
An unlimited fine;
A possible prison sentence;
A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
An increase in your car insurance;
Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.
People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.