Dad Banned And Fined After Drink Driving 'Toy' Camper Van - At 6 Mph

14/08/2014 16:57 | Updated 20 May 2015

Man in speeding toy

OK, we know it's morally wrong and against the law to drink and drive. But did the police go too far when they asked dad Rio Beardmore to blow in the bag?

After all, he was only driving at 6 mph – in a toy camper van. To raise money for charity!

Rio Beardmore drove the hand-built vehicle the half mile to his home from a local pub after two pints of lager and six shots of spirits.

But patrolling officers didn't find the sight of him at the wheel remotely funny so they stopped and breathalysed him - and found him to be nearly three times over the drink-driving limit.

Rio, a self-employed locksmith from Stoke-on-Trent, said: "I didn't know I was doing anything wrong or breaking any rules by driving it. When the police pulled me in I thought they were joking. I couldn't believe what was happening.

"I admit I'd had a few drinks before driving it home but it wasn't as if I was rolling drunk or anything.

"I really didn't think it would be a problem as the camper van doesn't need road tax or anything like that. It's a toy car as far as I'm concerned. I found the sentence rather harsh."

The blue and white van, which took seven months to build, was originally made for Rio's son Daniel, 16, who is a camper van enthusiast and visits VW shows with his father.

The van cost about £1,200 to build and has an electric motor from a mobility scooter and fibre glass bodywork. The father and son use it to raise money for charity.

Rio, who pleaded guilty at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates' Court to a charge of driving a mechanically propelled vehicle while being unfit to drive through alcohol, said: "I raised about £40 for the cancer charity [Macmillan Cancer Support] the night I was breathalysed.

"People would just come up and ask to take a photograph and then make a donation." He was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £500.


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