A drink-driving Aberdeen trucker was caught behind the wheel of a 44-tonne lorry while more than four times the alcohol limit.
Robert Butler was found with empty cans of lager in the cab of his heavy articulated lorry which was pulling a curtain-sided trailer.
A sheriff branded the incident “frightening” and warned the consequences of the 52-year-old’s actions could have been much more serious.
Off-duty cops had initially spotted Butler on the A90 on August 7 and alerted colleagues.
And when he pulled up in a lay-by near the Tin Coo Cafe on the A956, Portlethen, they noticed he was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech.
Fiscal depute Susan Love told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “At around 4.15pm two off-duty police officers were travelling in a car together south-bound on the A90.
“At this time they saw a green Volvo 44-tonne heavy articulated lorry which was towing a curtain-sided trailer driving in the lane ahead of them.
“The police officers overtook the lorry and remained directly in front of it.
“Due to the manner of driving, the police officers contacted Police Scotland and reported it while remaining a short distance ahead of the lorry.
“The lorry pulled into a nearby lay-by. At this time the driver’s door opened and the now accused exited from the driver’s seat.
“He was seen by the police to be unsteady on his feet.
“The two off-duty officers identified themselves to the accused.
“The accused’s eyes were noted to be glazed and he spoke with a slur.
“It was clear to police he was intoxicated and was significantly impaired.
“Asked if he was okay, he was slow to respond. He asked to return to the vehicle but was instructed to wait at the roadside.
“He told the officers he had consumed lager within the last 20 minutes.
“The two witnesses saw empty lager containers within the cab at this time.”
On-duty police officers then arrived and all parties were able to smell alcohol on Butler.
Butler pled guilty to driving a lorry with 91 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes.
Defence agent Neil McRobert said his client has lost his employment as a lorry driver as a result of the offence.
He said: “The circumstances with regard to the offence are explained in the social work report.
“It does confirm his mental health deteriorated earlier this year and unfortunately that led to increased alcohol use.
“He is genuinely remorseful and indeed appalled by his conduct as he should be.
“He acknowledges the potential consequences of that.”
Mr McRobert said Butler was now receiving support to address his issues and was abstaining from alcohol.
Sheriff Robert McDonald told Butler: “It’s a very high reading and I’m sure you’re aware of the potential consequences of driving that kind of vehicle as intoxicated as you were at the time.
“It’s quite frightening the potential consequences and, as a professional driver, you must’ve known that.”
He banned Butler, of Great Northern Road, Aberdeen, from driving for 20 months and also imposed a year’s supervision and 120 hours of unpaid work.