A PE teacher at a private primary school was caught driving in the early hours at nearly double the drinks limit after attending his hockey club's end of season celebrations.
James Figgis, 28, of Highfield School, Highfield Lane, Liphook, Hampshire claims he was looking for a better place to park and sleep for the night after the alcohol-fueled dinner in central London.
He pleaded guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates Court yesterday to driving his VW Golf in Hurlingham Road, Fulham on April 13 with 67 microgrammes of alcohol on his breath – the legal limit is 35.
Prosecutor Miss Helen Clutton told the court: “He was seen driving at 3am with no lights on and that is why he was stopped and it was apparent he had been drinking that night.”
Figgis' lawyer Mr. Ben Holden said: “Mr. Figgis lives in Hampshire, he is a teacher at a school and he was in London to have an end of season meal with his hockey club and intended to sleep in his car afterwards.
“It is something he has done on many occassions in the past and leaves his keys in the boot and has a sleeping bag in the car and sleeps in the passenger seat, that was his intention.
“He has had a few drinks and learned there was a classic car rally in Fulham the next morning and the roads where he was parked would be full and it would take him a long time to get away the next morning.
“He learned that if he drove over Putney Bridge he could park in a residential area, but was stopped by the police three hundred yards after setting off.
“It does seem to be a stupid error by Mr. Figgis. He was not trying to sneak home and dodge the police.
“He is a teacher at an independent primary school and has been there for three years and is looking to pursue a teaching career.
“A conviction like this is going to be on his record for the rest of his life because of his career, working with children.
"He lives at the school and there are no local buses or train links and the disqualification is going to cause a detriment to his private life when trying to visit friends and family in Guildford and London.”
Figgis was fined £405, with £85 costs and ordered to pay a £40 victim surcharge and disqualified from driving for eighteen months.