Leeds & West Yorkshire

Railway crossing worker unconscious from drink jailed

Crofton railway crossing
Image caption The court heard that the crossing on Doncaster Road was Europe's "second busiest"

A railway worker found unconscious due to drink while responsible for one of Europe's busiest crossings has been jailed for three months.

Peter Singleton, 29, was almost three times the drink-drive limit when paramedics were called to his cabin at the Crofton Crossing near Wakefield.

Wakefield Magistrates' Court was told a colleague found him slumped with a train waiting for permission to cross.

A district judge said the lives of hundreds of people were in his hands.

District judge Jonathan Bennett was told on the day of the incident on 18 October, Singleton had taken a full two-litre bottle of cider in with him which was empty when it was found later.

'Full responsibility'

Singleton, of Roger Drive, Sandal, admitted at a previous hearing a charge of being unfit to work through drink or drugs while working as a gatekeeper on a level crossing.

A breath test showed he had 99 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit for driving is 35 micrograms but Network Rail has a limit of 13 micrograms for staff.

The court was told the Crofton Crossing on Doncaster Road was the "second busiest in Europe" and 65 trains can go through it in a 24-hour period.

The court heard Singleton suffered from bulimia for many years and also had seizures, with one resulting in some brain damage which had left him with erratic behaviour.

Mike Devlin, for Singleton, said his client had worked for Network Rail since 2004 but would now lose his job.

Mr Devlin said: "He's not making any excuses. He accepts full responsibility."

Passing sentence, Mr Bennett said: "I cannot avoid the harm that could have been foreseeably caused by your actions."

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