Lincolnshire Police say they will review what happened when a man who had been driving while over the limit was released from custody and given his keys back and then stopped and found to be still well over the legal limit just 30 minutes later.
A defence solicitor told Boston magistrates court that police had been ‘irresponsible’ in giving the car keys back to Adrian Talaba and allowing him to drive again without making sure he was legally able.
And the magistrates said they were ‘a little bemused’ by the decision.
Talaba, 41, of Smalley Road, Boston admitted driving with excess alcohol in High Street, Boston, on December 23 and again in South Street on December 24.
Jim Clare, prosecuting, said Talaba was seen driving his Ford Focus 'hesitantly and inconsistently' at 9.40pm on December 23 and was arrested after giving a breath test reading of 65 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35.
Talaba was charged by police and released at 12.45am the following morning, but at 1.16am, just half an hour later, he was seen in the same car driving poorly in South Street and again gave a positive breath test with a reading of 49 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, still well over the limit.
Anita Toal, mitigating, said Talaba, who had no previous convictions, had drunk some beer whilst celebrating Christmas with some work colleagues.
She said it was normal for police to make someone caught driving with excess alcohol to wait until they could give a negative breath test before being given their car keys back.
“It beggars belief that the police returned the keys to this man as it was extremely likely he was still over the limit when they gave him back his keys,” she told the magistrates.
“It was somewhat irresponsible of the police,” she added.
The magistrates told Talaba they were 'a little bemused' the police gave him the keys back.
“The second offence is in part down to the police,” they said, “but you must have been aware you were over the limit and you still drove.”
They banned Talaba from driving for 20 months on the first charge and fined him £200, but for only 12 months on the second charge, to run simultaneously, and fined him £100.
He was also offered the drink drivers' rehabilitation course which will reduce the period of the ban by 20 weeks, and also ordered him to pay £115 in costs and charges.
Tony Diggins from Lincolnshire Police press office told the Standard: “Whilst there is no power to require a person charged with an offence of drink/drug driving to take a further test, Lincolnshire Police is fully committed to ensuring it does not release offenders who are able to commit further offences.
“The circumstances of the events described in this article will be reviewed and, if necessary and appropriate, changes will be made to existing policies and practices.”