A COMPANY boss was so drunk when he drove to a garage that he forgot to fill up before offering to pay for the fuel.
Paul Hastings – who runs Hastings Metal Finishers in Hebburn with his brother Alan – was found to be almost four times over the drink-drive limit when he was stopped by police.
Hastings, 45, of Marina View, Hebburn, was given a nine-week suspended prison sentence and banned from driving for two years and eight months after pleading guilty to a driving with excess alcohol at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court
The court heard Hastings recorded a breath test reading of 136mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – well above the legal limit of 35mcg – after a row with his brother.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told magistrates that the incident hapened at 6.30pm on December 10.
She said: “Police were called about a possible drink-driver at the Jet Garage, in Victoria Road, Hebburn, after the cashier said a man had entered and asked to pay for some fuel.
“The till showed no fuel had been drawn from a pump and the man was showing signs of drunkenness.
“When he was told he had not taken any fuel, he left the station store and went back to his Volkswagen Golf. He was walking back and forth and was unsteady on his feet.”
The court heard Hasting went back into the petrol station and was directed to a diesel pump.
Ms Beck added: “When he got into his car to drive to the right pump, he nearly collided with others on the forecourt. Police attended and he was arrested.”
The court heard that Hastings is a married dad-of-two who had argued with his brother on the day of the offence over a work-related matter.
Hastings Metal Finishers, in Prince Consort Industrial Estate in Hebburn, was set up in 1983 and has more than 200 clients.
Ian Cruickshank, defending, said: “We have a wholly exceptional set of circumstances which are never to be repeated. He had an argument with his brother, which had hit him hard.
“It caused him to do something he never does – which was to drink to excess and alone. The mistake he made is that he didn’t believe he had drank so much.”
He added: “The reading is very high but he was wholly co-operative and submitted to the roadside test.
“This has been hanging over his head and he knows you have the power to commit him to custody.
“He should be given full credit for his early guilty plea. He runs a company with his brother and had no convictions or cautions until this matter.”
Magistrates’ chairwomen, Yvonne Cracknell, said: “We believe this offence is so serious that only custody can be justified. We sentence you to 12 weeks in custody, reduced to nine due to your early guilty plea, but it will be suspended for two years.”
Hastings was also ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £80.