Working Christmas Eve 2

Martyn Hillier

Again I was on my favourite shift over the years working out of Cheltenham, on Christmas Eve, 6-2 evenings, but my “DUI (driving under the influence) antenna” had clearly not worked on this occasion, so as the end of the shift approached I called in to the Control Room, it may even have still been the Information Room, to blag a cuppa and warm up.

I was talking to the Inspector, which I am 99% certain was David Kelly as Acting Inspector, when Heather Robinson,  caught my attention. She was taking a 999 call and  said “I think this one is for you; erratic driver in Hatherley Road towards town”.

With an agility I no longer possess, I was out of the door and onto my beloved A442  and riding along Lansdown Road, then Shelburne Road, towards Hatherley Road.

I was always astounded that on TV programmes, such as The Bill, whenever Control room put out an observations message for a vehicle, the camera immediately cuts to a interior of a police car, in which one of the occupants would say “Look. There it is” !!

We all know that in real life it doesn’t work like that, but on this occasion it really did. As I approached the Hatherley Road junction the vehicle concerned drove across my view, very, very slowly.


A quick blip of the twos and  the driver pulled over, I opened the door, blagged the keys, then asked the driver to get out, which to his credit he did without hesitation. He did however have trouble standing up.

Standing in front of me, leaning on his car, he started to slide to the left, so I moved him back to the vertical, at which point he started to slide to the right. P****d as a mattress as the saying goes, so I called for the van.

No breath test, straight to arrest. The van was with me in moments, & the driver was on his way to custody.

I called up on the main set to inform Information Room and the reply was on the lines of “Six minutes from the 999 call”. She didn’t add “What kept you ?”………

In the cells the story came out. The driver was a postie and  as we all know, they have a busy December, so he and others had celebrated an empty sorting office by going for a few drinks at the Hatherley Inn.

Where it went wrong was him then deciding it would be a good idea to drive home………………

I knocked out the necessary paperwork, and the Custody sergeant , the ever helpful Judy Bush I seem to recall, said “Leave that with me. He won’t be fit to charge until lunchtime”….

So before I concluded I went over to the Information Room and this time I did get to drink a cuppa.

Picture of A442 for illustrative purposes only. No tigers were involved on this occasion….

1991 Kelloggs Tour of Britain.
Police Constable Martyn Hillier and Tony the Tiger in Buxton as part of the team escorting the cyclists around the country from Windsor to Leeds
(Gloucestershire Police Archives URN 2394)


This page was added on 08/01/2024.

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