Business man's driving ban

A Newcastle Emlyn business man made an impassioned plea to keep his driving licence for the sake of his staff last week.

Kevin James Thomas, aged 47, of Llechwedd, Capel Iwan, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Wednesday.

He pleaded guilty to driving at 67mph in a 40mph limit on the A478 at Glandy Cross on March 4, and attempted to persuade magistrates that a driving ban would cause exceptional hardship to his staff and family.

The court heard that Thomas ran a successful window business, two farms, a development company and Carmarthen based plastics firm, which would suffer, and could result in job losses if he was unable to drive for six months.

Thomas, who already had nine points on his licence, told the court he was ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ to find himself in court.

He said he employed 26 people in his company, and if he was unable to drive and meet customers throughout Wales it would have a great impact on the business, established 25 years ago.

Thomas said: “If I don’t go and see the customers, two months down the line there will not be any work for the boys.”

He added: “Everything depends on myself, if I’m ill or something, everything goes on stop.

“I respect the boys that work for me and keep them in work all year round.”

The court heard that Thomas, a father of three, juggled a 12 hour day with the window company with running a 210 acre farm, a pedigree Charolais herd, and helping his elderly mother.

An accountant had estimated it would cost £25,000 to provide a driver for all the hours needed, and the situation could result in a 20% reduction of the workforce.

Simon Margrave-Jones, defending, said: “We are talking about hardship not only to Mr Thomas, but to his family, his employees and his animals. He is ultimately very fearful of his future.”

He added: “The cost of a chauffeur will exceed the profits of his business, and it’s the knock on effects of losing that order book which will be at risk if he is disqualified. It will put jobs and the business in jeopardy. He desperately wants to retain his employees.”

Magistrates did not find circumstances had been proved for exceptional hardship in the case, and Thomas was disqualified from driving for 28 days and fined £320. He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

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