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A determined police dog proved there was no place to hide when a suspected drink-driver ran away from an officer in Eastbourne.
Officers from the Roads Policing Unit saw a stationary Peugeot on the dual carriageway in Golden Jubilee Way, with a defective rear light.
The Peugeot driver, Niles Birkett, told officers he had stopped to allow his passenger out to go to the toilet by the roadside.
Officers asked him to move the vehicle off the dual carriageway, and then stopped him in Twin Oaks Drive nearby.
When he stepped out of the vehicle, they suspected he was driving under the influence of drink or drugs.
Birkett was asked to put out a cigarette, but refused, then ran off into an area of dense gorse and undergrowth where he hid in the darkness.
Residents later heard the passenger in Birkett’s vehicle calling out to him, and they informed the police.
Specialist dog handler PC Esme Jeal was called in along with PD Copper -a two-year-old German Shepherd, to help locate Birkett, alongside Eastbourne response officers.
Birkett was found and arrested on suspicion of driving while unfit through drink or drugs.
PC Jeal said: “PD Copper was asked to search for the suspect through difficult terrain after he had ran away from the police.
“He located the suspect, and we were able to arrest him and take him back to custody.”
Birkett, 23, a deliveryman of Harepit Close, South Croydon, appeared before Hastings Magistrates’ Court on December 7, charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis when suspected of driving while unfit through drink or drugs.
The court heard how the incident happened at about 2am on August 29 last year.
He refused to provide a breath test or blood sample in custody, at one stage lying flat on the floor and refusing to comply with officers. He was therefore charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
He admitted the charge in court and was disqualified from driving for 20 months.
Birkett was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
Sussex Police are highlighting the case as part of our campaign to tackle drink and drug driving, which is one of the “fatal five” causes of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads each year.
The other factors are; driving at excess speed, not wearing a seatbelt, being distracted while driving such as by using a mobile phone, and careless or inconsiderate driving.
During our campaign in December, 233 motorists were arrested for drink or drug driving in Sussex.
Our Drink Driving: Together We Can Stop It campaign aims to help stop offenders by encouraging people to take easy steps.
We ask people to prevent the risk of drink-driving by taking steps such as pre-booking a taxi, having a designated driver, or walking to a chosen venue if you are going to consume alcohol.
People are encourage to persuade a friend or loved-one not to get behind the wheel of their vehicle, such as by offering them a place to stay without driving, or if necessary by taking their keys off them.
Where these steps fail, we ask people to report drink drivers to the police, so we can arrest them and take them off the roads before they cause harm to themselves or other road users.