FORMER Sunderland footballer Stephane Sessegnon was today banned from the roads for 20 months after admitting drink-driving.
The player, now at West Bromwich Albion, also pleaded guilty to two counts of driving without a licence and driving without insurance.
Appearing at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court, the Benin international received three points on his licence and was ordered to pay a total of £7,605.
The 29-year-old was stopped by police in August in Newcastle, where he was found to be more than double the drink-driving limit.
On the evening he was arrested, Sunderland, who he was playing for at the time, were in cup action against MK Dons.
Mrs Judith Williams, prosecuting, said: “At 6.35pm on August 27 officers were drawn to reports of a Range Rover driving down Westgate Road, Newcastle.
“Further checks found that the vehicle was not insured. Officers spoke to the driver and checks found he was unlicenced. He also failed a roadside breath test.”
Mr John Kirkham, defending, said Sessegnon had “fallen foul of a peculiar quirk”, as his licence had enabled him to drive in France, which he thought would allow him to drive in other EU countries.
He said: “He’s very apologetic, he had consumed some wine and then slept. He was going to collect his sister from Newcastle city centre.
“He is looking forward to this case being finalised today.”
During proceedings, the chairman of the bench, Ann Hill, asked Sessegnon to speak up, and said: “I’m sure you speak louder on the football pitch.”
She urged him not to drive any vehicle for the duration of his ban, or he might face jail.
“You must not drive any motor vehicle. You must not hire a motor vehicle, you must not borrow one,” she said.
“There’s absolutely no driving. You will put yourself in the position where you could lose your liberty.”
The second charge of having no licence related to an incident in February earlier this year.
Sessegnon was also told he had the opportunity to reduce his ban by five months if he was to complete a drink-driving rehabilitation course.