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Rangers star banned for drink-driving

FERNANDO Ricksen, the Rangers footballer, was fined £ 500 and banned from driving for a year yesterday after being convicted of drink-driving.

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The Dutch player admitted at an earlier court appearance crashing his car into a lamp-post but denied he had been over the drink-drive limit, claiming he had consumed only two glasses of wine while out for a meal with his wife before the accident occurred. Ricksen originally had been charged with driving while over the legal limit in the early hours of Christmas Day, 2000, careless driving, conducting himself in a disorderly manner, and committing a breach of the peace by shouting and swearing after police arrived at his house in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow. Sheriff Bill Dunlop acquitted him on all but the drink-driving charge saying the Crown had failed to prove how the accident happened or that there had been any risk of a disturbance to the community from the player's conduct. During the trial, which started last year, the court heard how police arrested the Ibrox player when they breathalysed him after smelling alcohol on his breath. Giving evidence, Ricksen claimed he had consumed five or six large rum and cokes at home before the officers arrived on his doorstep. Ricksen said officers had explained when they arrived that they were investigating the report of an accident. He admitted he had been driving the car. He was asked to blow into the breath-test equipment. His wife claimed she had served him five large measures of rum, each three times the equivalent of what would have been served in commercial premises, between arriving home and being breath-tested. Convicting him, Sheriff Dunlop said he found it ''beyond credibility'' to suggest that anyone having been involved in an accident would ''go and gulp down such huge amounts of alcohol''. Michael Ball, the 23-year-old Rangers player, was fined £ 400 and banned from driving for six months at Dumfries Sheriff Court yesterday after admitting driving at 113mph on the M74 near Ecclefechan last October.

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