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Former rugby star tried to trick breathalyser

Former Wales rugby union star JPR Williams put coins in his mouth to try to trick a breath test when he was arrested for drink-driving, a court heard today.

Williams, who played full-back for the all-conquering Welsh sides of the 1970s, was fined £380 and banned for 17 months after admitting the charge.

Cardiff Magistrates' Court heard the 61-year-old was stopped in his red Audi cabriolet after spending the day watching a match.

Hannah Norton, prosecuting, said officers immediately smelled alcohol and took the British Lions legend to a police station.

She said: "Mr Williams had to be instructed twice to remove items from his mouth, those being three one-penny coins.

"Your worships, there is a myth that copper from those coins can interfere with breathalyser machines at the police station."

A blood sample showed he had 142mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

The court heard Williams was chauffeur-driven to London to watch London Welsh with another former international player on January 30.

He was taken back to Cardiff where he left his car and was stopped by police in the city while driving home to Llansannor, near Cowbridge, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Williams, who worked as a surgeon, was told to put his handbrake on when he was pulled over because he appeared not to realise his car was rolling backwards, the court heard.

Nigel Daniel, for Williams, said: "In what he now accepts was a very stupid and misconceived decision, he got in his car and headed home back to the Vale of Glamorgan.

"Dr Williams was under the foolish misconception that after a four-hour journey he was now fit to drive."

Williams was "extremely remorseful", he said, adding: "He feels he has let his family down, his friends and of course those who hold him in high regard for his sporting prowess."

Williams was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs. His ban will be reduced by four months if he carries out a driver rehabilitation course.

Speaking outside court, Mr Daniel said his client regretted his actions.

"He hopes some good will come from today and others, both young and old, will not follow his example and will refrain from drink-driving and the associated damage that comes from drink-driving," he said.

"He also warns people not to drive in the mistaken belief that alcohol has left the system."