Drunk farmer crashed BMW and tried to retrieve it with a JCB - but dropped car on its roof

The Mirfield man then caused £10,000 worth of damage to the vehicle after dropping it onto its roof, Kirklees magistrates were told

Michael Barber at Kirklees Magistrates' Court

A farmer who crashed his BMW after drinking returned to retrieve it with his digger.

But dozy Michael Barber then dropped the car on its roof, writing off the £10,000 vehicle.

He was arrested after his early-hours antics were reported to police and pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving.

His solicitor told Kirklees magistrates that had the 35-year-old’s story been a film script it would have been rejected as being too far-fetched.

Barber, of Crossley Farm in Mirfield, was arrested at just before 1am on June 2.

Police had received numerous reports from members of the public concerned about a JCB digger carrying a BMW across its forks.

Officers went to Wellhouse Lane in Mirfield where they found the heavily damaged car close to the JCB.

Barber initially claimed that he had been at a barbecue earlier that evening.

He told police that he received a phone call saying that his car had been taken and crashed.

Because of this, Barber said he had decided to go to the scene and retrieve his car.

He was carrying a can of lager shortly before his arrest and police station breath tests showed that he had 72 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

This was more than twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Bob Carr, mitigating, said that the car theft was made up by his client.

He told magistrates: “If this had been a script it would have been rejected as too far-fetched.

“He went to a barbecue and had drunk some alcohol, he was going through a narrow land and had a minor road traffic accident.

“That caused the airbag to deploy and made the vehicle undriveable.

“He decides he can’t leave it there, goes home, has another drink and gets his JCB to go and pick up the vehicle.

“As he’s picking it up he drops it on its roof, writing it off which cost him £10,000.

“Police come and he concocts some cock and bull story by his admission today.”

Mr Carr added that Barber could have left the car and come back the following day but was concerned about its position in the road.

Magistrates heard that Barber faced a mandatory three-year driving ban due to a similar conviction in 2010.

Mr Carr said that the ben could have ‘horrendous’ consequences for Barber.

He told magistrates that a ban would leave him unable to carry out his work as a plant hire contractor.

However it wouldn’t affect his carrying out tasks on the farm such as scattering hay, magistrates heard.

As well as banning him from the road for three years, magistrates also fined Barber £150 and told him to pay £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.

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