A DRUNKEN man who refused to be breathalysed after being found inside a parked car in Port Glasgow claimed he was merely trying to retrieve something from the vehicle.

Scott Vickers, 43, says he grabbed the keys for the Ford Fiesta from an over-the-limit relative who was intent on driving — in order to prevent a crime being committed.

Defence lawyer Gerry Keenan told Greenock Sheriff Court that his client’s position was that he was ‘acting in a public-spirited manner’.

Prosecutor David Simpson said that police — who had been called to an ongoing 4am disturbance in Clune Park Street — saw Vickers getting into the car.

He added: “The police asked him to remove himself from the vehicle.

“There was a strong smell of alcohol on the accused’s breath and he had the car keys in his left hand.

“He told officers that he’d had about four pints.” The court heard that Vickers refused to provide a roadside sample of his breath at 4.30am on 7 March and continued to refuse at Greenock police office at 5.40am.

He told the police: “I wasn’t driving, so there’s no point.” Solicitor Mr Keenan said: “The vehicle is not owned by the accused but by his nephew, who was over the drink drive limit.

“He realised that his nephew intended to drive the car, and in order to prevent him from doing so he says he took the keys off of him to prevent a crime.

“He tells me that he entered the car to retrieve an item and that the vehicle was to remain parked overnight.

“His view is that he was preventing a crime from taking place.” Mr Keenan said that a driving ban was discretionary when someone is suspected of being over the legal alcohol limit whilst in charge of a vehicle, as opposed to driving it.

He told Sheriff Ian Anderson: “If you accept that he is telling the truth, it would be very unfortunate if he were to lose his licence whilst acting in a public-spirited way.” The court heard that jobless dad-of-two Vickers is currently living in homeless accommodation in Glasgow. Sheriff Anderson told him: “I find your explanation highly unlikely.” Vickers, of Edinbeg Avenue, Glasgow, also had 10 penalty points put on his previously unblemished driving licence.