Washington woman in court for being drunk in charge of a mobility scooter

DRUNK IN CHARGE ... Katrina Spencer was veering about on a mobility scooter.
DRUNK IN CHARGE ... Katrina Spencer was veering about on a mobility scooter.
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BOOZED-UP Katrina Spencer landed herself in court after she was spotted drunk on a mobility scooter.

Police put the brakes on her antics after reports she was veering around a Wearside street in the buggy – and she was charged under a 140-year-old law.

Prosecutor Paul Doney told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court that officers were called out to The Terraces, in Washington, after reports of a woman who appeared to be drunk while on an invalid scooter.

The court heard that Spencer, pictured, was seen riding the mobility vehicle on December 20. She was having difficulty controlling it and was swaying to the left and right.

The 30-year-old, who broke down in court as the charge was read out, told police she was an alcoholic and had been drinking vodka.

She pleaded guilty to being drunk in charge of a carriage, which is an offence under the Licensing Act 1872.

Mitigating, Sandra Fife said it was an “unusual case” and added although her client admitted her crime, she denied she had been driving the vehicle.

“She was sitting on it and waiting for the person who owned it to come out of the house,” Mrs Fife said.

“Strictly speaking, she was in charge of it. The keys were in, so there is an argument for being drunk in charge.

“She is receiving help and treatment, so issues are being addressed.”

Magistrates imposed a six-month conditional discharge and ordered Spencer, of Beech Square, Columbia, to pay £85 in court costs.

There are reportedly 300,000 mobility scooters regularly used on UK roads.

Despite these numbers, these modes of transport are not classed as “mechanically propelled vehicles”, the definition used in most modern motoring law legislation, so many of the motoring laws that apply to cars and other motorised vehicles do not apply to mobility scooter drivers.

Many of the motoring laws that apply to cars and other motorised vehicles do not apply to mobility scooter drivers.

Section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872 has been used for drink related incidents involving mobility scooters as it states that it is an offence to be riding a cycle or to be in charge of any “carriage, horse or cattle” when drunk.

There is also no lawful right for the police to request a breath, blood or urine sample to be provided in these circumstances.

Twitter: @janethejourno