Tipsy butcher crashed car after being caught swigging vodka at work

Haswell's Homer Hill Farm Shop, Rainton Gate.
Haswell's Homer Hill Farm Shop, Rainton Gate.

A butcher crashed his car after being sent home when his boss caught him downing vodka at work.

Wilfred Nelson, 60, mixed sharpening his butcher’s knives and chopping up meat with the odd tot of vodka to keep him going, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Due to the stress caused at work, he was drinking at work. He had a bottle of vodka and he kept taking a nib of vodka during the day as it would help with the situation

Alan Cutting, probation officer

The butcher of more than 20 years blamed the stress of working at Homer Hill Farm at Low Pittington, on his hitting the bottle, the court was told.

When one of the business owners caught him drinking at work on October 22, he was immediately sent home.

But, instead of calling a taxi or using public transport, the grandad-of-one crashed his Toyota Yaris on an A19 slip road. He was two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit.

Probation officer Alan Cutting, who carried out an assessment on Nelson, said: “He’s explained the circumstances behind which he committed this offence. He puts it down to work-related stress. He was working at Homer Hill Farm as a fully qualified butcher. He was also serving in the shop.

“There were people supposed to be filling the shelves up with meat. He was finding they weren’t doing it, so he had to do it himself and he found it rather stressful.

“He’d had a lot to drink the night before going to work. And due to the stress caused at work, he was drinking at work. He had a bottle of vodka and he kept taking a nib of vodka during the day as it would help with the situation.

“He was caught by one of the co-owners of the business. She sent him home and he made the decision to get in the car and drive home and has had the accident.

“He knows it could have been a lot more serious than what happened on that particular day.

“He’s very, very sorry to the court for what he’s done and he’s very relieved that nobody was hurt.

“He hasn’t drunk since the accident, it’s been a massive wake-up call for him.

“His wife is standing by him, but she’s very disappointed with him.

“He has been given his notice for that job. He’s now looking for employment, looking for work as a butcher.”

Nelson, of Ripon Street, Roker, admitted drink-driving after testing 213mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – the legal limit being 80.

Chris Wilson, defending, said: “I think we can say with some confidence that we will never see Mr Nelson before this or any other court again.”

Sentencing Nelson to a 12-month community order, with 40 hours of unpaid work and a two-year driving ban, bench chairman Alan Richardson said: “You know exactly what you’ve done.

“You are 60 years old and this is the first time you have appeared before any court.

“That reading on a morning is particularly scary, to be honest, but there is no need for me to tell you that, you know that yourself.”

He was also told to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.