A 71-YEAR-OLD man has been banned from driving after refusing to take part in a breath test.

Martin Dand had gone on a drinking binge in wooded area in Dalgety Bay after a row with his wife.

Dand, of Orrock Drive, Burntisland, had gone into the woods to drink a bottle of vodka and was found collapsed on the ground by a police dog-handler.

There were suspicions he had been drink-driving but Dand refused to give breath samples and told officers he had COVID-19.

Dand appeared in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

He admitted that on June 2, at St Leonard's police station, Edinburgh, he failed to provide two samples of breath for analysis to ascertain his ability to drive.

The incident happened at a wooded area at Four Lums Road, Dalgety Bay.

Depute fiscal Jill Currie said: “The accused was observed by witnesses in a public parking area with his car keys in his hands and seemed to be staggering. He then walked into a wooded area.

“Police were contacted over concerns he was intoxicated. Officers arrived at the area and searched for the accused but couldn’t find him initially.

“A dog-handler was sent for and the accused was found in the wooded area, 20 metres from the road. He was apparently asleep on the ground.

“His car keys were lying next to his head. He was unresponsive initially and then was slurring his words.

“He said he had been sleeping. He admitted he was intoxicated but claimed he had not been driving his car.”

At the police station, Dand refused to give breath samples and said he had COVID-19, added the depute.

Defence solicitor Gordon Martin said: “He had fallen out with his wife at home. He took the car to a shop, bought a bottle of vodka, parked the car and went into the woods to drink it.

“If the vehicle was warm to the touch when police got there it was because it was a hot day.

“It’s fair to say he and the police didn’t hit it off and he was taken for COVID screening for his trouble.

“He’s also been very much in the bad books at home, especially over the possible forfeiture of their £8,000 car.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown banned Dand from driving for a year and fined him £420. A Ccrown motion for forfeiture of the car was refused.