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Cops followed ‘trail of debris’ to catch drink-driving oil boss

Alexander Harper.
Alexander Harper.

A drink-driving oil boss was caught after police followed a “trail of debris” from the scene of a crash all the way to his address.

Alexander Harper got behind the wheel in the early hours of the morning to go and buy cigarettes, having been boozing with a pal.

But the 47-year-old was spotted driving “erratically” by a taxi driver and smashing into the back of a parked car before driving off.

The alarmed motorist called police and when officers arrived at the scene they discovered a trail of debris and leaking petrol, which led straight to Harper’s front door.

Fiscal depute Dylan Middleton told Aberdeen Sheriff Court Harper’s blue BMW M3 was spotted on Allardice Street in Stonehaven by the taxi driver at 2.50am on May 30.

Cops found ‘clear trail of debris and fluid’

He watched the BMW being driven in an “erratic manner” and “spinning its wheels”.

Mr Middleton said: “It thereafter collided with the rear of a parked vehicle before reversing away and being lost to sight.”

After following the trail to Harper’s address on East Lodge Drive officers gave him a breath test, which came back positive.

Harper admitted careless driving and driving with 58 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes.

Defence agent Ian Woodward-Nutt said: “Mr Harper is a 47-year-old married man with three children.

“He is the chief executive officer and owner of a locally-based company that functions internationally in the oil industry.”

‘Extremely foolish decision’

Mr Woodward-Nutt said: “In the lead up to the commission of this offence, Mr Harper’s health had been particularly poor.

“He had been travelling abroad frequently for work and that travel necessitated periods of hotel quarantine at either end.”

The solicitor added it had also been a challenging period for his client’s firm financially.

He added: “It had been extremely stressful for Mr Harper.

“On his return to the UK, after his period of quarantine, on the day of the offence he accepts he drank too much.

“He recalls he and a friend took the extremely foolish decision to leave his home to buy cigarettes.

“Against that background, he drove when he should not have done and caused this accident.

“He is deeply embarrassed and ashamed to find himself before the court and has asked me to issue a public apology for having committed this offence.

“This behaviour is clearly entirely out of character.”

Harper has abstained from alcohol since the incident.

Sheriff Margaret Hodge banned Harper from driving for a year and fined him a total of £990.

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