An Aberdeenshire farmer caught behind the wheel more than three times the drink-drive limit has been banned.
Michael Ritch was on his way home from celebrating the New Year when he was pulled over by police on the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, near Inverurie.
The 24-year-old told Aberdeen Sheriff Court that he was “very ashamed” of his decision to drive home, rather than wait in a taxi queue.
Ritch, of Legatsden Farm in Pitcaple, near Inverurie, admitted the drink-driving offence when he appeared at court yesterday.
Fiscal depute Jennifer Pritchard said Ritch was pulled over by police on patrol, who gave him a roadside breath test.
He was found to have 80 microgrammes of alcohol in 100millitres of breath, when the current limit is 22mcgs.
Self-employed Ritch, who was defending himself, said he was “very ashamed, embarrassed, and full of regret” over his actions.
He told the court he had been out celebrating Hogmanay and had been drinking heavily.
He said he was supposed to go to a friend’s party but this was cancelled at the last minute.
Ritch added: “Obviously with it being New Year’s Day there was a three-hour wait for taxis, which I know is not an excuse, so I decided to drive home.”
He said he accepted a driving ban was inevitable but appealed to the court to show leniency as he needed his license to properly care for his livestock.
He offered to pay a heavier fine if it would reduce the period he would be unable to drive.
However Sheriff David Hall told Ritch that was not how the fine system worked, and that he could not ignore the fact he was more than three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit. He banned Ritch from driving for 15 months and ordered him to pay a £600 fine.