A farmer told magistrates the European Union is to blame for the fact that farmers are continually going out of business.
Richard Terry Lewis, 51, of Dundas Close, pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates Court on Tuesday to using a mobile phone while driving a lorry on August 2 this year.
The police prosecutor told the bench Lewis had been seen by police using his phone on the A365 at 7.10pm. They followed the vehicle, an Iveco lorry, where he was still using his phone.
When pulled over Lewis told the police he had to take the call, adding: “Well that’s me on the dole. There are kids being killed; do you have nothing better to do.”
Representing himself in court, Lewis said the call was not an emergency. His hands-free kit had packed up while he was taking the call and he had finished it manually.
He added that without a driving licence he was finished as a farmer, reported the Swindon Advertiser.
“I have duty of care to my animals. I have to get to my animals and without a licence I’m finished,” he said.
He told the magistrates that his monthly income was £580 a month. “Farmers are losing money and going out of business the whole time. One day it’s going to get better, hopefully when we come out of Brexit.”
He said he could not manage his animals, sheep, cattle and pigs, without a driving licence, adding: “It is not the sort of job you can pick up the phone and ask someone to help you.”
When asked by the bench if he lived on the farm Lewis replied that he did not, his animals were placed all around the area of Devizes.
Bench chairman Diana Crockett said the magistrates accepted that Lewis had a duty of care to a lot of animals, adding: “So on this occasion we are not going to ban you.”
Lewis was fined £66, reduced to £44 for his guilty plea, and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30.