Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Forth Bridge storm van driver banned

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Media captionCCTV footage was released of the van being tossed around by the wind on the bridge

A delivery driver who was filmed attempting to drive his van across the Forth Road Bridge during a storm has been banned from the roads.

David Stanley ignored signs warning not to use the bridge when it was being buffeted by 90mph winds last December.

He was found guilty of dangerous driving after a trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

Stanley was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service and was banned from driving for a year.

Stanley, 63, from London, had been making his way back to England on 5 December with passenger Steven Fitzsimmons when he attempted to drive over the bridge, which was closed to high-sided vehicles because of the stormy conditions.

Damaging railings

CCTV footage shown to the court showed the van beginning to sway back and forth on the bridge.

The two men could then be seen leaving the vehicle before it toppled to a 45 degree angle, damaging railings and causing the bridge to be closed to all traffic for about two hours.

There were four signs on both sides of the bridge alerting drivers, further indications from Transport Scotland on overhead gantries and a sufficient supply of information on the Forth Road Bridge website, the court heard.

Stanley had claimed he only saw a sign saying the bridge was closed a mile in advance - by which point he had missed the last slip road.

He told the court: "I've never been in this part of Scotland before. I didn't have a clue where the bridge was, nobody stopped us or anything to tell us it was closed like what they would do in London.

"We seen a lay by but it was already full up with other lorries, if I'd known the bridge was as close I would have stopped.

"I couldn't reverse back because there was cars behind us."

Community service

His passenger, Mr Fitzsimmons, said: "We just followed the route the sat nav was showing us.

"We did see signs saying that the Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles but there was nothing about height limits or anything.

"If I had been driving I would have tried to stop but there was nowhere for us to stop. When we got on to the bridge I was panicky and concerned for my safety."

Stanley was found guilty of dangerous driving and failing to comply with road signs that instructed him that the bridge was closed. He had denied the charge.

Sheriff Ian Abercrombie sentenced him to 100 hours community service, to be completed over a period of six months.

He also disqualified him from driving for a year with the condition that he must re-sit an extended driving test before getting behind the wheel again.

Sheriff Abercrombie said: "You put your own life and your passenger in real danger. The footage leaves no doubt whatsoever about that."

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