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Man who stopped off for beers after shopping trip found driving with no lights on

Craigavon-Courthouse

A Portadown man who stopped off for “four or five beers” after a shopping trip was caught driving home during the early hours with no lights on in his car.

Alina Petras, 33, of Obins Street, Portadown, appeared at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with driving with excess alcohol in his breath.

The court heard police witnessed a Ford Focus being driven along High Street, Portadown, at around 1.30am on May 6.

It did not have lights switched on and officers followed the vehicle, watching as it stopped nearby and several men including the defendant exited before walking away.

Petras, originally from Romania, was approached by police who noted a strong smell of alcohol.

The defendant initially denied that he had been the person driving and told officers he did not have the keys for the car.

Eventually, Petras admitted he had in fact been in charge of the vehicle, producing the keys from his right jacket pocket.

A preliminary breath test carried out at the roadside was failed by the defendant who was then taken to Lurgan Custody Suite.

Whilst there, a second breath test was carried out, which gave a reading of 58mgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney asked that District Judge Bernie Kelly give Petras credit for his early plea.

He said the defendant had been out shopping on the day in question and ended up stopping in a pub where he consumed four or five beers.

Defence said Petras had not wished to leave his belongings in the car and drove a short distance before deciding to walk home.

Court heard the defendant had previously lived in Spain and had moved to Northern Ireland after splitting from his partner, who still living in Spain with their two young daughters.

Judge Kelly disqualified Petras from driving for 12 months and ordered him to pay a fine of £250, along with the £15 offender’s levy, within 10 weeks.

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