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article imageFrenchman charged with being 'drunk in charge of a lawnmower'

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By Johnny Summerton     May 5, 2010 in Crime
For one man in France this year's May Day celebrations finished before they had begun after police pulled him over for being drunk in charge of a motorised lawnmower.
May Day was last weekend - a day recognised in many countries as International Workers' Day or Labour Day if you will.
Here in France it's a public holiday even though this year of course May 1 fell on a Saturday.
And there's a tradition that unions take to the streets to demonstrate "solidarity".
There's also a much older and perhaps more quaint custom associated with the day, which dates back to the 16th century; that of offering and receiving a sprig lily of the valley, which is not only a symbol that Spring is well and truly here but is also supposed to be "lucky".
For one man though in the village of Le Pasquier in the eastern d├ępartement of Jura, the celebrations never really got underway and fortune certainly wasn't on his side as the day before, after apparently having spent a couple of hours in the forest collecting flowers, he was stopped by police as he made his way home.
The 56-year-old was, according to the regional daily Le Progr├Ęs, happily driving along not in a car but aboard his motorised lawnmower when he was pulled over.
Hardly a chase reminiscent of those US action films probably as the thing barely goes faster than walking pace, but nonetheless, as the police reminded the newspaper, a motorised lawnmower is not a vehicle "authorised to circulate on public roads in France."
Once they had stopped him it didn't take long for the two officers to realise that the man wasn't exactly fully in control of his "capacities".
"It was clear when we started questioning him that he wasn't in a 'normal' state," one of the officers told the newspaper.
"He was talking incoherently and smelled of alcohol."
Sure enough when breathalysed, he was found to be well over the limit, and the police immediately impounded his unusual "mode of transport".
Not surprisingly perhaps he'll face charges on two counts when his case comes to court next month; driving an unregistered vehicle and doing so while drunk.
But although he's likely to face a hefty fine, he won't lose his licence, as he doesn't have one.
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