A professional golfer was shocked to be told by police that he was in the middle of Wales after he was suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol following a relationship-ending argument on holiday with his then-girlfriend.

Ryan James, aged 27, admitted he had drunk three pints in Shrewsbury when he was stopped in his white BMW along the A483 at around 10pm on August 16 last year, Welshpool Magistrates’ Court was told.

He thought he was travelling home to Bulkington, near Coventry, but because his phone battery had run out of charge, and his then-girlfriend had taken his charger following the row, he was unable to navigate his way back to the West Midlands.

James was sentenced to a 12-month community order and disqualified for 17 months after he was found guilty at trial of failing to provide a breath sample when he was suspected of drink driving.


Prosecutor Helen Tench said Police Constables Price and Hewitt suspected James had been under the influence when they stopped his car.

"They immediately smelt alcohol, his eyes were large and glazed, and his speech was slurred," she said.

"The defendant admitted he drank three pints in Shrewsbury. Believing he was in middle of England he appeared shocked when he was told that he was in the middle of Wales.

"The defendant became dismissive and was taking as much time as possible to read the documentation and went to the toilet twice.

She added: "The defendant said he was sober, but he was swaying and slurring, and leaning on the rails.

"He repeatedly said 'I don’t want to do this'. There were no reasonable grounds as to why a sample wasn’t provided."

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Julian Harris, acting on behalf of James, said a driving ban would have a "dire effect" on the professional golfer's ability to earn money through competing and coaching.

"He didn't know where exactly he was. He had been staying in a wooden chalet outside Shrewsbury with his girlfriend, but they had a major argument, a serious argument that ended the relationship.

"She left the premises. He had no charge on his phone because she took the charger. He drove around to find her, but he couldn't find her."

Mr Harris added: "It wasn't because he was totally out of it; he was somebody who didn't know where he was because he didn't have Satnav. Youngsters tend to use Satnav.

"His income is virtually nil. He tells me he's in an impossible situation. I ask you to give him time to pay."

Probation officer Terri Dunham told the court that James had been day drinking while celebrating a birthday before he had an argument with his then-girlfriend who later took the majority of their belongings.

"He rarely drinks and only does so on special occasions," she said.

"He has no previous cautions or convictions and is a low risk of reoffending."

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Magistrates decided to ban James from driving for 17 months, but it could be reduced by 17 weeks if he completes a drink driving course.

As part of his 12-month community order, he must complete 40 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay a £114 victim surcharge and £620 prosecution costs because the case went to trial.