A man who drove his work’s van while drinking Bollinger Champagne and calling his friends, has been jailed for eight months.

Mason James Cowgill pleaded guilty to dangerous driving in court, where he was also Disqualified for a period of 32 months including an extended retest.

On 7 June last year, Cowgill, 27 of Gargrave, drove along the A65 near Ingleton for miles while he drank champagne and used his mobile phone – often not having his hands on the steering wheel.

At one point in the journey, the van being driven by Cowgill went into the back of a car which was stationary in traffic, close the junction of the A65 and the B6255/Tatterhorn Lane. The car was damaged in the collision however no-one sustained any injuries. Cowgill and the car driver exchanged details, but Cowgill left the scene before officers arrived, continuing with his journey while making more phone calls to friends at the wheel and almost causing another collision.

Following Cowgill reporting the collision to his boss (the owner of the van), the in-cab footage was reviewed. Cowgill was sacked and the footage was brought to the attention of the police.

PC Babs Parsons, said:

“Cowgill is lucky he did not kill or seriously injure someone that day.

“The manner in which he drove demonstrated a clear danger to other road users and I’m amazed he did not cause any more collisions.

“This was not a momentary lapse in concentration, this is a sustained period in which Cowgill paid very little or no attention at all to the road and was clearly not in control of the van he was driving.

“I thank the owner of the van for bringing this footage to our attention as it has enabled us to take a very dangerous driver off the road”.