A drunk driver, who was five times the legal limit and found slumped at the wheel of his car wearing a female police officerâ€™s uniform, has been jailed.
52 year-old, Robert McLaughlin, enjoyed dressing up in the police uniform of his West Yorkshire partner the court was told during his trial.
When discovered slumped at the wheel of his vehicle, he was dressed in the full uniform including a police communication earpiece. A police helmet was also found resting on the front passenger seat of the car he was driving.
Prior to his trial, Mr McLaughlin had already pleaded guilty to the charge of drink-driving and being in possession of a police uniform. Following his trial the judge executed a jail sentence of 16 weeks and a ban from driving for four years.
Magistrates at Wakefield court heard how a cyclist was nearly hit by a vehicle taking evasive action to avoid Mr McLaughlinâ€™s â€˜irregularlyâ€™ parked car, which was positioned diagonally across the carriageway.
The cyclist at first planned to confront Mr McLaughlin, who was slumped over the wheel of his Citroen. However, upon noticing the police uniform the cyclist thought that the driver was a police officer who had suffered a medical episode and instead called an ambulance, revealed prosecutor Richard Ogden.
Yet a roadside breath test uncovered that McLaughlin was five times over the legal limit and a blood test later showed 366mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. The legal limit is 80mgs.
In a statement from Mr McLaughlinâ€™s lawyer she said: â€œHe and the owner of the uniform would occasionally dress up in the gear. Mr McLaughlin had befriended the officer when she was ill and a relationship began. They used to occasionally dress up in the police stuff that was subsequently found.â€
In a statement from prosecutor, Richard Ogden, he said: â€œNine other items of police issue equipment were found at McLaughlinâ€™s home. The uniform belonged to a female constable and she had given McLaughlin a key to her home. She says the uniform was under her bed. She was extremely distressed to find the items missing.â€
Furthermore, the helmet discovered in Mr McLaughlinâ€™s Citroen was the property of his stepson, who also happens to be a police officer.
In sentencing, the judge said of Mr McLaughlin: â€œNot only were your actions irresponsible, to be wearing a police uniform, which could lead to action against its owner, is unlawful. The entire circumstances surrounding this case are bizarre, but above all itâ€™s your willingness to get behind the wheel of a vehicle blind drunk that has left me with no alternative to hand down this sentence.â€