Great Britain

Drink-drive accused police officer 'drove wrong way down A66'

A POLICE officer has been suspended and charged with drink-driving after an incident in which he allegedly drove the wrong way down a dual carriageway in Teesside this week.

The Northern Echo understands that the officer, who Cleveland Police said was not on duty at the time, eventually had to be stopped with a vehicle manoeuvre by on-duty colleagues as he drove down the A66 in the wrong direction.

The 38-year-old Cleveland Police officer has now been charged with drink-driving.

A spokeswoman for the force last night confirmed: "Officers stopped a car on the A66 just before midnight on Tuesday December 17.

"A 38-year-old man was arrested at the scene and has been charged with the offence of driving with excess alcohol."

The officer, who lives in Billingham, is due to appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court next month.

It is understood that he is a serving police officer, but was off-duty at the time, and not in a police vehicle at the time of the offence.

Cleveland Police’s Department of Standards and Ethics are aware of the incident and the officer has been suspended.

It is not clear whether there were any passengers in the car at the time, or whether anyone has been injured.

A source told The Northern Echo that it was understood to be the force's dog unit which eventually performed the specialist manoeuvre to stop the off-duty officer's car.

If found guilty he is likely to face a gross misconduct hearing.

However the Independent Office for Police Conduct is not understood to have been officially informed as he was not on duty and not in a police car.

Last year, Cleveland Police inspector Tina Notman was caught drink-driving near Thornaby Station.

She was more than twice the drink-drive limit when stopped behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SLK in Martinet Road.

A breath test showed she had 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Now retired, Ms Notman was banned from driving for 17 months and fined £450.

The hearing at Gateshead Magistrates Court last year was 'fast tracked' into an earlier session before it was listed, meaning the details of the offence were not heard by the media and could not be reported to the public.