Lancashire

Drunken skipper sentenced for Fleetwood harbour crash

Corentine Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption The Corentine whelk trawler ran aground in the River Wyre

A drunken skipper had to be rescued from his ship after crashing into a sandbank, a court heard.

Michael MacEachern, 45, drank seven pints of cider before attempting to navigate the 60-tonne whelk trawler through Fleetwood harbour on 7 June.

He lost control of the vessel and careered into the Tiger's Tail sandbank, leaving his crew stranded.

He was given a suspended sentence after previously admitting being in charge of a boat with excess alcohol.

Preston Crown Court heard volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution were called to the harbour in the early hours to rescue five men from the vessel.

Prosecuting, Philip Clark, said: "[The skipper] was still on board and was unwilling to leave the boat."

'Skewed judgement'

When he eventually left the vessel he was taken to Fleetwood police station where test showed he had 55 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml. The legal limit to captain a boat is 35 micrograms.

Mitigating, Daniel Harman, said MacEachern "accepted his judgement would have been skewed".

The trawler had to be refloated when the tide came in at the Wyre Estuary.

At sentencing, Recorder Mukhtar Hussain told the defendant it became grounded "partly, if not fully, for the reason that you were drunk".

MacEachern, of Sherwood Grove, Huntington, York, was given eight months suspended for 18 months.

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