Drunk man swam to boat

First published in News

A drunk Cardigan man was brought to shore by the local lifeboat crew, after taking a boat ‘for a spin’ on the river Teifi.

Neil Russell Wilkinson, aged 47, who gave his address as c/o 3 Cnwc y Dintir, pleaded guilty to taking a boat without the owner’s consent in Cardigan on June 13, when he appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Wednesday.

A charge of assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty on the same date was dismissed by the court.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, told the court the defendant got very drunk during the afternoon in question, and waded out into the river to get onto a boat.

Members of the public saw him as he began travelling up the river.

Mr Prichard-Jones said: “He was clearly very drunk, and the emergency services were called. The Cardigan lifeboat was launched and brought him to shore.”

Wilkinson was found to have a bottle of vodka with a third left in his possession, and told police he swam out, and only took the boat for a ‘little sail down the river’.

Alan Lewis, defending, said his client was genuinely remorseful.

He said: “He is a hard working man, but has been out of work since Easter and is finding it very hard. He has been a little bit depressed and this has been a wake-up call for him.”

Mr Lewis told the court Wilkinson bought bottles of vodka and coke from a local supermarket and sat around drinking, before deciding to swim out to the boat and take it for a ‘spin’ up towards the bridge.

He added: “He has not had a drink since the incident and is very embarrassed about it. He apologises to the court.”

Wilkinson was fined £75 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

The presiding magistrate said: “Considering the amount of vodka you had that day, you are very lucky you didn’t crash the boat or hit someone.

"I sincerely hope that you refrain from over consumption in future."

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