Bogus cop jailed for being drunk at wheel

Robert McLaughlin
Robert McLaughlin

A man who was five times the drink-drive limit when he was found slumped behind the wheel dressed in a female police officer’s uniform has been jailed.

Magistrates heard Robert McLaughlin, 52, was discovered confused at the wheel, wearing a female police top, black trousers and boots, a communications earpiece and an officer’s helmet on the passenger seat.

Unemployed McLaughlin was described as “seeming out of it” and “totally and utterly confused” when a cyclist spotted him parked diagonally across Pontefract Road, Ackworth, around 1.50pm on May 28.

Believing the drink-driver to be a police officer who “may have had a stroke” an ambulance was called.

A roadside breath test revealed the bogus officer was five times the drink-drive limit and he was arrested and taken to hospital.

A later blood test showed he had 366mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. The legal limit is 80mgs.

Richard Ogden, prosecuting, told Wakefield and Pontefract Magistrates’ Court the articles of uniform belonged to a female constable with a debilitating medical complaint, who McLaughlin helped out around the house.

He added: “She says the uniform was at her home address under her bed. She was extremely distressed to find these items had gone missing.”

The court heard a fleece McLaughlin was caught wearing displayed the officer in question’s details and since the incident she has changed her name.

It was also revealed that the helmet found on the seat belonged to McLaughlin’s stepson, who is a police officer.

Mr Ogden said a further nine items of police issue equipment and clothing were found when they searched McLaughlin’s home.

Ruth Gill, mitigating, told the court that rather than just be befriending the officer, her client had been in a relationship with her for 18 months.

Mrs Gill said: “During that time they used to occasionally dress up in the police stuff that was subsequently found.”

At an earlier hearing, McLaughlin admitted drinking and driving and being in possession of a police uniform while not being a member of a police force or a special constable.

McLaughlin, of Chestnut Glade, Nostell Priory, was jailed for 16 weeks and banned from driving for four years for the driving offence.

Chairman of the bench, David Petts, said there was to be no separate penalty for the other offence.

He added: “Justice has to be seen to be done.”