Shaky start to band’s Scottish trip

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A GERMAN bus driver ferrying a Finnish folk band smashed into a car shortly after crossing the England-Scotland border at the Carter Bar.

Frank Giesecke was at the wheel of a double-decker towing a trailer when he forgot which side of the road on which he should be driving.

The 43-year-old had stopped at temporary traffic lights near Camptown on the A68 before pulling on to the opposite carriage to negotiate 

But Selkirk Sheriff Court was told on Monday that he stayed on the wrong side for a few hundred yards – and smashed into an oncoming car which spun through 90 degrees.

The woman driver was treated for minor injuries at the Borders General Hospital before being allowed home. Her car is likely to be written off.

Giesecke was ferrying folk metal outfit Korpiklaana from a gig in Norwich to their next performance in Glasgow when the crash happened late on Friday morning.

There were 16 members of the band and their back-up team on the bus and the trailer contained their equipment. All 16 were shaken but unhurt.

Giesecke, of Bernburg, about 80 miles south-west of Berlin, appeared in court and admitted driving carelessly.

Procurator fiscal Tessa Bradley said the accused had held a licence to drive buses and tow trailers in his native Germany since 1991 and had arrived on Thursday.

She told the court: “This was a three-axle double-decker bus, which was towing a fully laden two-axle trailer. In the course of his employment for a German company, he drives in the UK once or twice a year.”

Korpiklaani are currently on a UK tour and had played at a concert in Norwich before setting off at 3.50am to perform again in Glasgow the following evening.

Ms Bradley said Giesecke had driven for about four hours, before stopping for a rest, and at 11.20am was driving near Camptown.

She told Sheriff Kevin Drummond: “He had to slow down at roadworks, and go on to the other side of the road and the other driver was travelling south when she was confronted by the accused driving the bus on her side of the road.

“She swerved, but there was a collision, and her car spun 90 degrees before stopping.”

Giesecke’s solicitor, Mark Harrower, described his client as a first offender and an experienced driver.

Mr Harrower went on: “He had taken the appropriate rest periods and was driving at 30mph at the time. He had stopped at temporary lights, and had to drive on the southbound carriageway to negotiate roadworks.

“ It looks like he forgot to go back on to the right side of the road for a few hundred yards past the roadworks. He accepts the collision was his fault and regrets what happened.

Sheriff Drummond told the driver: “It is fortunate that the consequences were not more serious, but there is no suggestion of you speeding, or any other irresponsibility in your driving.”

He fined Giesecke £335 and gave him six points on his driving licence.

The Glasgow gig went ahead.