A VAN driver caught swigging a bottle of whisky on the M6 in Lancashire – before groping an arresting officer in a police custody suite – has been jailed for a year.

When police pulled over Jason Parkinson, just off junction 28, he was barely able to to stand and began hurling abuse, Preston Crown Court heard.

He repeatedly questioned why he was being arrested and demanded to know why he had been handcuffed.

One officer at the scene could he heard to remark how it was “astonishing no-one had been killed or injured” on the motorway by his actions.

His Peugeot van was searched and there was a near-empty bottle of whisky on the passenger seat, the court was told.

Parkinson was eventually arrested and taken to a police custody suite - where he was recorded on CCTV footage using racist abuse to an officer.

And while was set in a room, awaiting a breathlyser test, he grabbed an officer’s penis, over his clothing, and mimicked a sex act, the court heard.

Prosecutor Charles Brown said a roadside breath test indicated Parkinson was more than four times the drink driving limit.

He told the court the incident had begun earlier that day, when the defendant’s van had been involved in a collision with a Kia car, between junctions 32 and 33 of the M6.

The other driver swapped insurance details with Parkinson but the latter became aggressive, when forced to wait on the hard shoulder, and eventually drove off.

Mr Brown said the Kia driver later returned to the main carriageway but was caught in heavy traffic.

He was “horrified” to witness the defendant, while queuing in traffic, drinking from a bottle of whisky, so he reported the matter to police.

Parkinson, 49, of Manor Road, Clayton-le-Woods, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, sexual assault, failing to provide a breath test and causing racially aggravated alarm to another.

He was also banned from driving for three years and must sign the sex offenders register for seven years.

Jailing him, Judge Philip Parry said he agreed with the officer that it was “astonishing no-one had been killed”.

And referring to the sexual assault, Judge Parry added: “This was a police officer acting in the course of his public duty, and whether or not you thought you were messing around, he should have not have to put up with this kind of behaviour.”

Cecilia Pritchard, defending, said her client had been “appalled” at his behaviour.

Parkinson realised he had a serious problem with drinking and had referred himself to local treatment services, she added.

The defendant had insisted he had not been drinking before the earlier collision but had pulled off the motorway to buy the whisky before rejoining the M6 later, the court heard.