Cirencester Tesco worker banned after drinking vodka

A Cirencester Tesco member of staff has been banned from driving for four years and fined £750 after she drove to work for a night shift when she was two and a half times over the drink-drive limit, writes John Hawkins.

At Cheltenham Magistrates Court last Friday Sarah Westman, 63, of Long Newton, nr Tetbury, who has since lost her job at Tesco, admitted driving a motor vehicle on November 7th 2020 while over the legal limit in Cirencester.

Prosecutor Graham Dono said the details of the former midwife’s offence at 10pm that night were ‘quite worrying.’

He told the court “Neil Swift, a concerned motorist, spotted Westman driving her Audi erratically along the A433 Tetbury Road just outside Cirencester by drifting over the central white line and hitting the kerb several times.

“He was so alarmed by the manner of her driving that he felt compelled to call the police. He continued to follow her into the Tesco car park in Cirencester and he describes her as being unsteady on her feet after he got out of the car and walked into the store.

“It was later discovered that Westman was doing an overnight shift at Tesco. She was arrested after failing a roadside breath test by being more that two-and-a-half-times over the legal limit by having 99 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35.”

Jo Hall of the probation service told the court Westman had consumed over half a bottle of vodka during the course of that day and had stated that she did not feel particularly drunk and and she felt safe to drive.

Ms Hall added: “This indicates a total lack of awareness around alcohol and its effects on the ability to drive. It also shows a total disregard for her own safety and that of other road users.

“It appears her need for alcohol has outweighed any good decision making around drink-driving. She thought she could get away with it and demonstrates her attitude towards drink-driving.”

The court was told that Westman, a former midwife, lost her job at Tesco as a result of these court proceedings.

Westman has had a long standing issue with alcohol which began in 1986 with the death of her brother and she currently drinks a bottle of vodka most days, the court heard.

Westman, who was not legally represented, told the court: “I’m totally sorry for my actions and I am remorseful for what I did. I know it was ill advised and it was very stupid of me to attempt to drive to work.”

The court heard that Westman had been previously disqualified from driving in similar circumstances in August 2018.

The magistrates fined Westman £750 and sentenced her to a nine month community order including attending an alcohol treatment course during that time. The justices also banned Westman from driving for 48 months and ordered her to re-take her driving test at the conclusion of the ban.

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