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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 13:53 GMT
Ex-police chief's drink-drive ban
Bruce Clarke before the hearing
Mr Clarke appeared before Swansea Magistrates Court
A former senior South Wales Police officer has been fined and banned from driving after pleading guilty to being more than twice the drink-drive limit.

Chief Inspector Bruce Clarke, who had been involved in anti-drink-drive campaigns, was arrested following a traffic accident last month.

Magistrates in Swansea disqualified him from driving for 20 months on Friday and fined him 600.

Clarke, aged 49, resigned from his job with the force after his arrest.

Bruce has made a terrible mistake and has paid the consequences,
Chief Superintendent Graham Davies

The court heard he had been returning home from a party at police headquarters in Bridgend on the evening of 23 December, when his car veered off the road and hit a crash barrier on the A48 bypass just outside Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Clarke, from Flemingston in the Vale of Glamorgan, said he had swerved to avoid a fox.

He was discovered in his vehicle by a police sergeant on patrol who suspected Clarke had been drinking. A test was carried out and he was arrested.

Beer and brandy

On initial questioning he said that he had been sober when the accident happened but had walked into Cowbridge to try and make a phone call, where he drunk four pints of beer and some brandy.

He later admitted that he was probably already over the drink drive limit by the time he had left the party.

The court heard Clarke had spent 31 years with the police, during which time he had received six merits from the chief constable for his work.

Following the hearing senior officers with South Wales Police said Clarke's conviction drove home the message that no-one was above the law.

Chief Superintendent Graham Davies said: "Bruce Clarke was an exemplary officer whose contribution over 31 years will now be sorely missed.

'No hiding place'

He said Clarke had lost his job, his income and his integrity amongst his former colleagues as a result of one rash act.

"He has lost all of those things and he will be the first to say do not drink and drive. He never intended retiring so early.

"Bruce has made a terrible mistake and has paid the consequences, and of course this happened during the drink-drive campaign.

"What we will take from that as the South Wales Police is to ensure that the message of compliance with the law gets through.

"There is no hiding place for people who drive above the alcohol limit, whether they are professionals, policemen or anybody else."


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