A MAN appeared in court after refusing to take a breath test whilst driving on the popular North Coast 500 road.

Edward Wickes, from Essex, was arrested by police in Thurso on November 22 for suspected drink-driving but refused to take two breath tests at Wick Police Station.

The case was heard in Wick Sheriff Court on Tuesday, where Wickes was fined £600 and banned from driving for a year.

Two charges of failing to provide a roadside breath test and attempting to pervert the course of justice by running away from officers were dropped.

READ MORE: Scottish hotel on NC500 ranked among world’s best to visit in 2024

The court heard that, when asked by officers why Wickes refused to take a test, the 21-year-old replied: “I don’t have a reason.”

The court put Wickes’ response down to the “panic” he felt at finding himself in such a predicament.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald, who pleaded guilty on behalf of Wickes, said he was ashamed of his conduct and had since realised that his refusal was “a stupid act”.

Sheriff Gary Aitken said that the courts took a serious view of those who refused to cooperate in such circumstances, adding that Wickes may not have faced punishment had he “simply blown into the intoximeter”.

He added that had Wickes done so, the reading may well have been under the legal limit of 22mcg, but it was his refusal to take part in a test that led to his conviction.