A WOMAN with alcohol problems who recently moved up to Shetland narrowly escaped a jail sentence after admitting her third drink driving offence in just five years, at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.
Barbara Jacobs, aged 59, of South by Ronas, Assater, near Hillswick, was arrested on 19 October after she drove to the local shop to buy alcohol while two and a half times the drink driving limit.
Defence agent Tommy Allan accepted that Jacobs had a significant drink problem and had previously undergone rehabilitation for alcohol, but said that she had taken further steps to tackle her alcoholism since her arrest last month.
Sheriff Graeme Napier said that Jacobs was on the cusp of going to jail when he heard that she already had been disqualified twice in the past five years, but said he did not think she could cope with life behind bars.
Instead he banned her from driving for ten years, ordered her to carry out 70 hours of unpaid community work and placed her under a three month curfew.
Sheriff Napier said: “The whole story here is in some ways bizarre, but in many ways not uncommon – someone with problems coming up to a remote part of the country she doesn’t know, with no social network and spending her time drinking.
“You are right on the cusp of going to prison, but I don’t think you would cope with that. This is a very serious offence. You risking not only your own life, but those of innocent people.”
He added: “It still beggars belief that people in Shetland don’t regard this as a serious offence. I have tried my best over seven and a half years to make that clear, but have obviously failed.”