Lorry driver ‘didn’t know he broke drink-drive law’

A BULGARIAN lorry driver found drunk in his cab told police he had no idea he was breaking the law. 

Stoyan Zhelev, 47, was arrested while he was parked up on Alexandra Road in Batley on Saturday.

Kirklees Magistrates’ Court heard that Zhelev had driven from Italy to Batley, where he had dropped off his load before parking up. While parked, he started drinking wine.

Officers attended the scene after reports that the driver inside the cab was under the influence of alcohol. The keys to the truck were in the ignition but the engine was switched off.

Zhelev, of no fixed address, was arrested and taken to the police station where he refused to give a breath sample. He admitted being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Mike Sisson-Pell, mitigating, said his client had to wait a mandatory 45 hours before he could drive again after he had dropped off the load he had been carrying. He told the court: “The defendant parked up and had nothing to do so he remained in his cab and drank some wine. He was in a sleeping compartment and told police that all he was going to do was sleep and stay there.

“When police arrived they were trying to communicate with him in English – he couldn’t understand them and they couldn’t understand him. He’s bewildered that in failing to provide a sample he’s committed an offence.”

Zhelev appeared at court from custody on Monday as police were concerned he would leave the country.

Magistrates told him that his time served would be a sufficient punishment. His licence was endorsed with 10 points.

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