Girl, 12, becomes youngest drink-driver - by a year

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The Independent Online

When police stopped a swerving car on Christmas Day, they were shocked to discover the driver was a drunken 12-year-old girl who could barely see over the steering wheel.

When police stopped a swerving car on Christmas Day, they were shocked to discover the driver was a drunken 12-year-old girl who could barely see over the steering wheel.

Yesterday the girl became the youngest drink-driver convicted in Britain after she admitted aggravated vehicle taking, causing damage to a vehicle, driving with excess alcohol, without a licence or insurance. She had almost twice the legal alcohol limit in her system.

The girl had taken her father's Vauxhall Corsa from a relative's house where the family was staying and intended to drive 30 miles home to Thatcham, Berkshire, to see her friends because she was "fed up" with Christmas. The girl's father, unidentified to protect his daughter's identity, told police his car and daughter had disappeared from the house in Swindon, Wiltshire. The girl was stopped heading towards Aldbourne, Hungerford, after weaving across a bridge over the M4.

Her frequent collisions with the kerb had damaged the car so badly it had to be towed to a garage. The girl, 13 eight days ago, was technically arrested, charged with drink-driving and freed on police bail. She appeared at Swindon Youth Court on 5 January and 10 January, and admitted all five offences. Magistrates accepted her pleas and ordered pre-sentence reports. She will be sentenced later this month.

Two weeks ago, the previous record-holder for Britain's youngest drink-driver was given four months' detention. John Smee, of Salford, Greater Manchester, who was named to deter other young people from behaving in a "dangerous, frightening way", admitted drink-driving, aggravated vehicle taking and driving without insurance.

The 13-year-old, who had previous convictions for driving while disqualified and other offences, was one and half times over the limit when he drove a stolen Ford Mondeo at 70mph through Salford.He narrowly missed a pedestrian while driving on the wrong side of the road and lost control at a roundabout.