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Drink driver was seeking out Northern Lights

The Northern Lights on display back in February. Photo: Austin Taylor.

A MAN from Wiltshire whose desire to see the Northern Lights resulted in him getting behind the wheel while more than three times over the drink driving limit has been banned from the road for a year.

Thirty year old Christopher Woodroffe, of Oxford Road, Ramsbury, was also fined £500 when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

He admitted to driving on the A970 road near the Herrislea Hill junction at Gott in the early hours of Wednesday when he had 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes. 

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the offence occurred at around 2am. A member of the public contacted police out of concern at the manner in which Woodroffe was driving.

When police caught up with him he failed a roadside breath test and was taken to Lerwick Police Station, before spending the night in custody.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client worked as account manager for a wine supplier and was due to get married later this year. He and his wife are also expecting their first child.

He said Woodroffe had always wanted to see the Northern Lights and, having been out drinking, made the “stupid decision” to get behind the wheel and drive out of town after seeing on TV that they might be visible.

The consequences are that he is “highly likely” to lose his job, while his actions have also “placed his wedding plans in jeopardy”.

Woodroffe lives in a “very rural area of England with little in the way of public transport” and the driving ban will cause him “no end of trouble” in the short term.

Allan added his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and waking up in the cells on Wednesday morning had been “a fairly sobering experience”.

Honorary sheriff Willie Shannon reduced his driving ban from 18 months to a year to reflect the early plea of guilty and the fact it was his first offence. Woodroffe was also fined £500, reduced from £750, and he can further reduce his sentence by completing a drink driving rehabilitation course.