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Suspended sentence for drink-driver who crashed into pub

A drunk driver who crashed a van into The Squirrel pub in Farnborough has escaped an immediate jail term and been given a suspended sentence

Pete Addison
A van collided with the Squirrel pub in Farnborough

A drunk driver who crashed into a Farnborough pub, causing more than £35,000 to the building, has been given a suspended sentence.

Sean Brown, 25, crashed a Volkswagen van into The Squirrel pub in Park Road, at around 12.55am, on January 19.

He admitted one charge of drink driving and one of aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving during a hearing at Aldershot Magistrates' Court on March 13 and was given a 22-week sentence, suspended for 12 months, when he appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (April 22).

He has also been banned from driving.

During the first court hearing, magistrates heard that Brown had been drinking at a friend’s house while watching football and had "a couple more cans" before leaving.

He was driving in a work vehicle owned by R&R Group Services, which he had permission to use for business purposes only.

Brown, formerly of Hook and now of Henley Drive in Frimley Green, lost control of the van on the wet surface as he attempted to turn and it crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with the front of the pub.

Serena Edwards, prosecuting, said Brown was seen by two members of the public, who described hearing the vehicle's engine revving and seeing it pass a traffic island on the wrong side of the road.

Witnesses also estimated Brown was travelling at more than 50mph, above the speed limit of 30mph, the court heard.

Brown was taken to hospital and a blood sample revealed he had 176mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – more than double the legal limit of 80mg.

Brown’s employer confirmed he was allowed to use the vehicle for work purposes.

When interviewed by police, Brown said he had been travelling at no more than 35mph and accepted he lost control of the van as he tried to turn.

The court heard how Brown believed he could use the work vehicle for private use.

Andrew Butler, chairman of the bench during the sentencing at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court, told Brown: "You have pleaded guilty to two very serious offences.

"It is our view that the offences are so serious that they justify the custody threshold. It is aggravated by the fact you were drinking."

Mr Butler explained to the defendant that his previous record and early guilty plea meant the jail sentence could be suspended.

Brown was given a 22-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work as part of a community order.

The defendant was also disqualified from driving for 20 months, for drink-driving, and was disqualified for 12 months for the aggravating vehicle taking charge, to run concurrently.

Brown was told to pay £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £80.

 

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