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Drink driver flies home after losing job

A SPANISH engineer working on the new Total gas plant in Shetland is flying home with his life in tatters after being caught drink driving twice within one week.

On Wednesday Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that 50 year old Carlos Lopez, of Cordoba, had started drinking after becoming depressed with news that his wife had contracted cancer.

Lopez was spotted at 1.45am on 1 May by two police officers getting behind the wheel of his works van on Lerwick’s Commercial Street despite being obviously drunk. When he was breathalysed he was found to be almost twice the legal limit for alcohol.

He was released from Lerwick police station on an undertaking that he would not commit another offence, but one week later on 8 May the police received a call from a concerned member of the public.

They stopped Lopez at 7.40pm as he drove along Commercial Road and Holmsgarth Road on his way back to the Shetland Hotel where he was staying. This time he tested as being more than twice the legal limit for drink driving.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Lopez had four children, the oldest of which was a 28 year old police officer in Spain. He had been driving for 34 years with no previous convictions.

Mr Allan said that he had been working for just over a month at the Sullom Voe gas plant construction site, and had heard last month that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer.

He would have returned to Spain earlier this month, but had surrendered his passport following the first driving offence.

“Because of the second offence he has lost his job and has a return ticket to Spain where he intends to return as soon as possible,” Mr Allan said.

Sheriff Graeme Napier restricted the sentence due to the circumstances and banned Lopez from driving for three years. He also fined him £1,000 on condition that his employer, who owes him the money, paid it within 24 hours.


Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021