Drink driver blames ‘germ phobia’ for refusing breath test

Austin failed to participate in a breath test due to his phobia of germs
Austin failed to participate in a breath test due to his phobia of germs

A Scarborough man has been disqualified from driving after failing to provide a sample of breath due to his phobia of germs.

Gareth Austin, 35, of Trinity Road, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen of breath at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court on February 9.

The court heard how police received a call on the night of January 24 from a member of staff at a petrol station who said a man had been driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Katy Varlow, prosecuting, said: “Police tracked the vehicle’s registration to the defendant’s home where he was found getting out of the vehicle on the driveway.

“He refused to take part in proceedings when asked to and was arrested.”

Austin was taken to Scarborough Police Station where he again refused to provide a specimen of breath, due to a fear of germs.

Robert Vining, mitigating, told the court that Austin was going through a difficult time after losing his job.

He said: “If I had a pound for every case in my career when a client did not know the law. He admits he had far too much to drink. My client did not believe he had to provide a breath because he was on private land. At the station he thought someone else had used the mouth piece on the machine, so he refused. He is not suggesting he would not have been over the limit. He accepts he should not have been driving the car.”

Chairman of the bench, Mr Barnett, disqualified Austin for 40 months and ordered him to pay a £487 fine, £85 in costs and a £48 surcharge.