Ex haulage boss caught drink driving

Pictured left to right: Peter Brown (Jack Richards & Son, Managing Director, Paul Day (Turners Group

Pictured left to right: Peter Brown (Jack Richards & Son, Managing Director, Paul Day (Turners Group, Managing Director), Lisa Richards (Jack Richards & Son, Director) and Anthony Richards (Jack Richards & Son, Chairman). Jack Richards joins the Turners Group of Soham. Picture; TURNERS - Credit: Archant

The former boss of Jack Richards Ltd – sold last year to Turners of Soham - was caught driving while three times over the limit after turning to the "demon drink" when the business was sold. 

Anthony Richards, son of the late Jack Richards who formed Jack Richards and Son in Haddenham in 1956, appeared before Norwich magistrates having been charged with drink-driving. 

Tim Cary, mitigating, said it was a "somewhat odd" case. 

He said Richards was a "pillar of the community" who had ended up before the courts for the first time in his life. 

Mr Cary said Richards had been one of the main shareholders of the firm; he remained a minority shareholder and director but once he became "just a director" people stopped listening to him. 

Mr Cary said: "I think it's fair to say Mr Richards became depressed because life had not gone the way he had hoped it would go." 

He said Richards did not go to work at the beginning of last week and "turned to the demon drink". 

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The defendant, "for reasons best known to himself", went to Tesco to pick something up for his partner and was caught drink-driving by police. 

Mr Cary said he had received 14 glowing references for Richards, who had since sought help for his drinking. 

Richards was banned from driving for 26 months, and given a 12-month community order including 100 hours unpaid work. 

He was also ordered to pay £105 costs and a £95 victim surcharge. 

Richards, 62, who had been chairman of the major Fakenham-based transport firm following his father's death aged 90 in 2014, was caught driving his Land Rover Discovery at St Mary's Close, Heacham, on December 9. 

He was found to have 109mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35. 

Richards, of St Mary's Close, Heacham, appeared in court on Wednesday (December 16) when he pleaded guilty to drink driving. 

The court was told an off-duty police officer had reported the defendant after seeing him "driving very slowly" and towards the nearside verge. 

He was followed by officers to his home address before being stopped and breath tested. 

Jack Richards was founded in 1956 at Haddenham with a single Bedford truck and by the time it was sold had grown to include a fleet of over 330 vehicles and 700 curtain-side trailers has been sold to Turners of Soham. 

Acquiring Jack Richards Ltd, said Turners, would create a haulage conglomerate with over 2,100 units and 3,500 trailers and a 4,000 strong workforce. 

Turners' manager director Paul Day said the connection between both companies had dated back to the 1950s "when our grandfathers were friends; so, it feels like we were destined to come together." It was Paul's grandfather Wallace that founded Turners in the 1930s 

Mr Day said that entering the general haulage sector a competitive part of the market and it was "vitally important we found a quality business to enter this market. 

"It's rare to find such any opportunity to buy an efficient, well-managed company. Jack Richards has exceptional people and loyalty from its staff and customers.  

"Turners will do everything it can to retain these strengths and provide support to help the company build further growth to continue its successful history." 

Lisa Richards, director at Jack Richards & Son, said: "In a time of economic uncertainty, our industry is venturing into unknown territory, but this investment from Turners puts us in the strongest possible position to maximise the opportunities ahead." 

The acquisition of Jack Richards & Son catapulted the Turners Group in the top 15 road transport companies in the UK. 

Anthony Richards & Lisa Richards each retained a 10 per cent shareholding in the business. 

Turners promised there would be no redundancies as a result of the sale and all existing contracts would remain in place with customers. 

Turners currently operate c.1900 tractor units and c.3000 trailers from 30 sites employing over 3400 people. The acquisition of Jack Richards & Son takes the group to 38 operating sites.