'Staggering' coach driver turned up to work drunk with bottle of whisky

The Bolton News: Manchester City Magistrates Court. Picture from Google Maps. Manchester City Magistrates Court. Picture from Google Maps.

A COACH driver collecting stranded passengers from Manchester Picadilly train station turned up drunk with a bottle of whisky, a court heard.

Felicity Hall, of Dickinson Street West, Horwich, was seen staggering in the aisle of her train-replacement coach, having already driven from Bolton to Manchester.

Tests revealed she had 81mg of alcohol in her breath — more than twice the legal drink-drive limit.

She was banned for two years today at Manchester Magistrates Court.

District Judge Mark Hadfield praised the station co-ordinator, who contacted the police after suspecting 46-year-old Hall had been drinking.

The driver was not due to work until the following day and did not realise she had drunk too much when she was contacted by her bosses asking her to go to the station, the court heard.

Hall, who was employed by Atlantic Travel, arrived at Piccadilly Station at 12.15am on April 13.

Gareth Hughes, prosecuting, said the station co-ordinator was not expecting to see her.

When he queried why she was there, Hall explained she was covering for a coach which had not turned up.

Mr Hughes said: “The defendant was described as staggering from one side of the aisle to the other.”

The co-ordinator asked her to blow air towards her and gave her a “last chance” to say whether she had consumed alcohol.

Hall then admitted having a drink of whisky “some time ago”.

After her arrest police found a bottle of Bells whisky among her possessions at the police station.

She pleaded guilty to drink-driving at an earlier hearing.

Mr Hughes said: “No passengers had ever been transported, but they would have been if Miss Hall hadn’t spoken to the co-ordinator.”

Matthew Wallace, defending, said she “felt under pressure from her employers” to work when they contacted her.

He added that she had the bottle of whisky on her when she was arrested because she did not want her partner to know she had drunk it.

Sentencing her to 200 hours of unpaid work, Judge Hadfield told Hall she had drunk an “enormous amount of alcohol”.

He added: “This was a public service vehicle you were driving. There was certainly a likelihood you would be required to drive and would have been driving with a number of passengers on board.”

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