Banned drink driver jailed after being caught nearly five times over limit

Marsden Grotto car park
Marsden Grotto car park

A former nurse is today behind bars after being caught behind the wheel while almost five times over the limit - despite already being banned for drink driving.

Stephen Pitcairn was banned for five years in July last year for an offence of drink driving, South Nothumbria Magistrates’ Court heard.

Stephen Picairn, 34, of Church Street North, Monkwearmouth.

Stephen Picairn, 34, of Church Street North, Monkwearmouth.

But he was spotted driving by police who pulled him over into a seafront pub car park and quickly realised he had been drinking.

Now Pitcairn has been jailed for 17 weeks after being told there is “widespread public concern” over those who flout the laws.

“The latest offence was just after midnight on April 1,” said Paul Anderson, prosecuting. “Mr Pitcairn came to the attention of a police patrol as he drove a Renault Clio along the Coast Road near Marsden.

“Officers pulled him over into the car park of the Marsden Grotto pub.

“They quickly formed the opinion he had been drinking. Following the usual procedure at the police station, Mr Pitcairn was found to have a breath reading of 166. That is exceptionally high, being five times the legal limit.”

The court heard Pitcairn has a ‘bad record’ for driving offences.

“He was disqualified for five years in July of last year for another offence of excess alcohol,” said Mr Anderson. “There are also other driving offences. He served a six-year term of imprisonment imposed in 2007 for a non-driving offence.”

Pitcairn, 34, of Church Street North, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, admitted driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified, and driving with no insurance.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “There isn’t a great deal I can properly 
say about the offence, although there is no suggestion Mr Pitcairn was driving particularly poorly or dangerously.

“It is clear he has a significant alcohol problem.

“He has worked, and is a registered general nurse, or at least he was in the past.”

“Mr Pitcairn has not sought to delay this matter, and he is still relatively young so there is time for him to turn his life around.”

Bench chairman John Lee said: “There is quite rightly widespread public concern about people who take to the roads while under the influence of drink.

“This offence was committed not many months after you had previously been given a long ban for doing the same thing. Immediate custody is the only realistic option.”

Pitcairn was banned from driving for a further five years, plus nine weeks to take account of the time he will spend in prison.