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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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South Cumbria man guilty of drunken drive through crowds

A SOUTH Cumbria man has been given a suspended prison sentence for a hair-raising drunken drive through crowds at a music festival.

Craig Thomas Armstrong, 24, from Flookburgh, sobbed in the dock at Carlisle Crown Court on Friday when the judge told him he would not be going straight to prison for the way he left families “scattering in all directions” as he drove his Ford Fiesta at speeds up to 40mph around the campsite at Solfest, near Silloth, in August.

The court heard that people had to jump out of the way and parents had to drag their children to safety as he careered around the site.

When a security vehicle was parked to block his path he drove straight at it, making the occupants believe he was bent on a collision, prosecuting counsel Brendan Burke said.

He stopped nose-to-nose with the other car, then reversed and drove off over a tent, which fortunately was not occupied.

Armstrong eventually stopped and ran off after getting out of his car, but after about 50 metres gave up, turned to face the pursuing security men and held up his hands, Mr Burke said.

He told them: “I’ve been stupid. Can we not sort this out? Don’t call the police.”

However the police were called and Armstrong was arrested when he failed a breathalyser test.

Armstrong, of Green Lane, Flookburgh, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.

His barrister Robert Elias said Armstrong, who works as an engineer in Barrow and is studying part-time for a degree at Sheffield Hallam University, could not understand what had made him behave as he had.

“He is in an enviable position – having a job, qualifications and a career within his grasp,” said Mr Elias. “But he knows he has come close to throwing it all away with an act of madness.”

Armstrong was given a four-month sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work and banned from driving for a year.

He was also made to pay £200 costs and an £80 statutory surcharge.

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