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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Barrow constable found guilty of drink-driving police van

A POLICE officer who was caught driving a police van while drunk has been banned for a year.

PC IVAN ALLONBY

A duty sergeant smelled alcohol on PC Ivan Alexander Allonby’s breath when he returned to Barrow Police Station on July 21 last year, Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

Allonby, 43, was given a breath test which showed 48 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg per 100 ml of breath.

The dad-of-one, who also plays for Furness Rugby Union Club, pleaded not guilty to driving in Market Street in Barrow while under the influence of alcohol.

Sue Baker, prosecuting told the court Allonby had been allocated to a police van just after 2pm at Barrow police station.

Sergeant Travis, the duty sergeant on the day in question, said: “The log book shows that PC Allonby was sent out on that particular vehicle at that time. I heard the radio transmission and asked him to come straight back to the station. He came into the sergeant’s office and I asked him to close the door, I could smell intoxicating liquor on his breath.”

Allonby, of Lightburn Road, Ulverston, pleaded not guilty to drink driving and claimed he was not driving the van, with the call sign ‘02’, at the time of the offence.

Mr Paul Currer, defending, said there was no way of proving that Allonby was in the police van because he replied to the call on his personal police radio rather than the vehicle radio.

He said: “There’s no evidence whatsoever to demonstrate PC Allonby was driving, let alone on Market Street in Barrow. It would appear that the officer was using his personal radio, not the vehicle set, which undermines the contention that he was driving the vehicle at that time.”

However, the court heard a transcript of the radio conversation between Allonby and a communications officer in which he said: “I’m in 02, I’m a bit away but I’ll start heading there just in case.”

Allonby was found guilty of drink driving by a district judge at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court and was disqualified from driving for 12 months. He was also fined £700, must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £400 in prosecution costs, and was given 28 days to pay the total of £1165.

Mr Currer said: “The defendant remains a serving police officer and there will be disciplinary action. This man has a seven-year-old child.

“Through this conviction he has lost his good character, he is extremely concerned and ashamed in connection to that.”

Speaking after the hearing, Superintendent Ali Dufty said: “We are disappointed that a serving police officer, Ivan Allonby, was found guilty of drink driving in court. PC Allonby was suspended from work after suspicions were raised that he was under the influence of alcohol, near the start of his shift.

“He was challenged by his supervisor; breathalysed and then arrested and later charged. Now the criminal proceedings have concluded, PC Allonby remains suspended and will be subject to an internal misconduct investigation.”

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