Towy Valley tipi man to claim benefit to pay fine off
6:10am Thursday 24th May 2012 in News
A 36-YEAR-old Towy Valley man who admitted doing 100mph while more than twice the legal drink-drive limit has been forced to claim the dole for the first time in his life in order to pay the fine.
Rowan Mark Dameon, of Wern Las in Cwmdu, was spotted by police driving a Volkswagen Passat at high speeds along the A48 at 11.45pm on April 20.
Ellie Morgan, prosecuting, told Carmarthen magistrates how officers followed Dameon, a lifelong member of the Tipi Valley hippy community, between Nantycaws and Cross Hands.
“His speed never dropped below 90mph and sometimes hit 100mph,” said Ms Morgan.
When Dameon was stopped at Cross Hands, officers immediately noted the smell of alcohol on his breath.
Tests showed Dameon had 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Peter Martin, defending, told the court that Dameon had intended to drive to Hampshire to visit his mother.
“Earlier that evening he had drunk a number of bottles of cider,” said Mr Martin.
“He delayed driving to allow his alcohol level to go down, but he did not allow anywhere near enough time.”
Mr Martin described how Dameon had lived his entire life within the Tipi Valley community.
“He lives a hand-to-mouth existence and does a bit of building work and landscape gardening in exchange for food or a little money.
“He has had little work lately, so lives on a bartering system within the community.”
Mr Martin said Dameon had never before claimed any form of state benefit, adding: “This is something he does feel very strongly about.
“However, there will be a fine to pay and the only way he can do that is to go on benefits for the first time in his life.”
Dameon was banned from driving for 22 months and fined £130.
He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £15 legal surcharge.
Magistrates ordered that Dameon pay the debt at £5 per week, ensuring he will remain on benefits for 46 weeks.