Taxi driver banned after drink-driving on duty

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A taxi driver has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he admitted to drink-driving whilst on duty.

Peter Cole, aged 42, and of Swallow Close, Cambridge, had picked up a fare at in Harpenden at around 5.30pm on January 12.

During the journey, the passenger became suspicious that he had been drinking and managed to get Cole to stop the grey Ford Mondeo. The passenger called the police at which point Cole made threats to kill him.

Police arrived and found the taxi stopped on the hard shoulder of the northbound carriageway on the A1(M) between Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage. They arrested Cole and he was taken into custody where he gave a breath sample of 171 micrograms for every 100ml of breath, where the legal drink drive limit is 35 micrograms.

Investigating officer PC Pete Talbot, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “Cole’s breath alcohol reading was the highest I have come across in nine years of working as a roads policing officer.

“The seriousness of Cole’s actions was compounded by the fact that he was working in a position of trust as a taxi driver at the time of the offence and he had a passenger in his vehicle. He put his own, his passenger’s and the lives of other road users in danger as a result.”

Cole admitted drink-driving and a public order offence and was sentenced at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 36 months and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and court costs of £85. Cole must also have treatment for alcohol dependency.

> If you know someone who you believe drink and drives in Hertfordshire you can report them to police via the dedicated reporting line 01707 354111. However if you believe someone is drink driving now and an immediate police response is required, then call 999.