Tour ‘prank’ costs drunk man £1,000

Tour ‘prank’ costs drunk man £1,000

Tour ‘prank’ costs drunk man £1,000

First published in News

A MAN who smashed a glass jug in the road shortly before the arrival of the Tour de France peloton has been fined £1,000.

Self-employed builder Michael Lee Simms admitted causing a danger to road users outside his home in Ripon, on July 5 – during the first stage of the Grand Depart.

Court chairman Catherine Nickols told him: ‘‘This was a reckless act at an international event which could have had a devastating effect on the Tour de France.’’

Katie Varlow, prosecuting, said minutes before the cyclists were due to pass along Palace Road – close to Simms’ home in Tower Court – the 26-year-old was standing outside with his girlfriend, mother and neighbours.

He had his back to the road and was seen to throw a glass jug over his shoulder into the carriageway where it shattered, Harrogate magistrates were told.

Mrs Varlow said the act, shortly after a loudspeaker announcement of the imminent arrival of the cyclists, was seen by many people, some of whom dashed into the road and tried to clean up the glass.

Most was swept away but small shards were still visible as the peloton rode by, causing distress to some onlookers. Several spectators alerted nearby police and gave them a description of Simms who, when arrested, was found to be drunk.

Geoffrey Rogers, mitigating, said Simms had no previous convictions and had had some difficulty in whether or not to plead guilty as he had no memory of the offence.

But having read the evidence he decided he must have been the one who threw the jug.

Mr Rogers said Simms had been ‘‘celebrating’’ the tour initially at home with friends and then at a neighbour’s home and could only put the incident down to a prank.

In addition to the £1,000 fine, he was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

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