A MAN who was stopped by an officer while driving in Betws-y-Coed, before drinking lager in his locked car and later urinating in a police vehicle, has been spared jail.

James Lane, 42, of St Michaels Street, Shrewsbury, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year-and-a-half, at Mold Crown Court today (September 29).

He had previously pleaded guilty to the following offences:

  • Failing to provide a sample of breath for analysis.
  • Driving dangerously.
  • Failing to comply with solid white line road markings.
  • Failing to stop a vehicle when instructed to.
  • Criminal damage to property.


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Prosecuting, Elen Owen told the court that, at about 5pm on May 25, a police officer saw Lane driving on the A5, seemingly at a speed exceeding the 40mph limit, with smoke emitting from his car.

The officer followed him on a motorbike, before Lane overtook vehicles by crossing solid white line road markings.

Lane then came to a stop in a layby, but became “obstructive” when asked to get out of his car and comply with a roadside drugs test.

The officer called for assistance, before Lane got back in to his car, and drank a can of Foster’s lager.

He was told he was under arrest, before proceeding to drink “five or six more cans” of Foster’s, filming himself while doing so.

After more officers arrived, Lane was forcibly removed from his car, a vehicle window being smashed in the process.

Once in a police car, he banged on a window, spat at a Perspex screen, and urinated inside the vehicle.

The car had to undergo a professional clean, at a cost of £36.92.

Defending Lane, who had previous driving-related convictions from 2005 and 2016 for excess alcohol, Sarah Yates invited the court to draw back from imposing immediate custody.

Lane, a self-employed carpenter but presently not working, hopes to secure another form of work in the near future, she said.

“He would benefit from the intervention of the probation service,” Ms Yates said.

Sentencing, Judge Niclas Parry told Lane that his conduct was “frankly staggering”.

Judge Parry added: “If it wasn’t for the fact that I know you’re normally a hard-working man, I’d think you were mad.

“Drinking six cans of lager in a locked car, in the presence of a police officer who was arresting you for a motoring matter… the arrogance is staggering.”

But he agreed to suspend Lane’s custodial sentence “due, mercifully, to the lack of damage or injury”.

Lane received a 18-month driving ban, and must pass an extended re-test before he can return to the roads.

He will complete 15 days’ rehabilitation activity requirements, and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

Costs of £420, as well as a statutory surcharge, were also imposed.

“I hope you find work,” Judge Parry told Lane.

“Put this behind you, and comply with the order.”