A LEADING member of a young farmers’ organisation has pleaded guilty to driving a tractor on a motorway.
Peter Alexander (29), of Cloughwater Road, Clough, is the Deputy President of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster.
He appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to a charge of ‘driving a classified vehicle on a special road’.
The offence, which involved the defendant being at the wheel of a New Holland tractor which was pulling a trailer, happened at the M2 motorway at Ballymena on the afternoon of July 8 this year.
A police patrol spotted the tractor and stopped the defendant.
Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the defendant was travelling to the other side of Ballymena and made a mistake by not turning off when a dual-carriageway became a motorway.
“His mind was on other matters,” the lawyer said.
The court heard the defendant worked as an engineer at Bombardier Aerospace and he had been driving the tractor as a “part-time hobby”.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was the first time he had dealt with such a case.
He said: “You can see why tractors are not allowed on motorways, they are like a movable wall”.
The judge said other vehicles could approach such vehicles at speed.
Judge Broderick told the defendant: “In future don’t be going on a motorway in a tractor. It’s dangerous not just for you but for other road users.”
The court heard the defendant previously had six penalty points on his licence.
For the tractor offence he was given three penalty points and fined £200.