Man, 76, escapes wheelchair drink-drive charge

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The Independent Online
A drink-driving charge against a war veteran caught doing 8mph in his battery-powered wheelchair-style buggy has been dropped. Sam Hammond, 76, was allegedly more than twice over the legal drink-drive limit when he was stopped by police outside his home in Pitsmoor, Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

The great-grandfather, who suffers from heart problems and arthritis, was arrested and locked in a cell for six hours after the breath-test proved positive and was charged with drink-driving last September.

But the case was dropped yesterday after the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public interest to pursue the charge.

Mr Hammond said: "I couldn't believe it when they arrested me - how were they going to take a driving licence off me when I haven't got one?" The veteran of the Burma campaign in the Second World War said he had bought the buggy, which is powered by two 120-volt batteries, because he did not need a driving licence to use it.

He added: "I've never had a licence in my life because I don't think I would be a competent driver. It's all a bit daft really, I was hardly rolling about drunk and being a danger to anybody, certainly not at eight miles an hour. I had travelled two miles home from the pub when they stopped me.

"Even if I had bumped someone I was only going 8mph - that's the scooter's top speed - and I'm not sure that they would have felt it. But next time I go for a drink I'll use a cab."

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