Hebburn delivery driver caught drink-driving in BMW and Corsa after marriage broke down

A man was caught drink-driving twice after turning to booze after the breakdown of his marriage, a court heard.

Philip Merrifield, 40, was breathalysed at home by police tipped off he had driven to drop his son with the youngster’s mum after drinking alcohol.

They found the bonnet of his red Vauxhall Corsa warm to the touch on Saturday, May 15 – and Merrifield, of Cornwell Road, Hebburn, tested over the limit.

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And on Tuesday, February 8, he was stopped by officers as he drove a blue BMW in Victoria Road East, Hebburn, again after a tip off.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Magistrates in South Tyneside were told a breath test showed Merrifield was approaching three times the limit.

They also heard his Royal Mail bosses were unsympathetic to the delivery driver’s plight and were not looking to reassign him to an alternative role.

Of his first offence, prosecutor Niamh Reading said: “Officers were asked to attend Campbell Park Road, due to an incomplete 999 call.

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“While traveling, they received information that a person had just dropped his son off and had gone from that house and must have been drink-driving.”

And of Merrifield’s second offence, Ms Reading added: “Officers were asked to attend Victoria Road after a report of a potential drink-driver.

“They were in Lyon Street when they saw a blue BMW. The car went into Argyle Street and School Street.

“They stopped the car on Victoria Road East. The defendant provided a roadside breath test which was failed.”

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Merrifield gave readings of 56mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath in May, and 90mcg of alcohol in February. The legal limit is 35mcg.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of drink-driving.

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “The defendant describes that he suffered difficulties over the past few years.

“The relationship with his wife broke down and they separated. He describes an awful lot of pressure.

“He accepts that his way of dealing was to drink more than he should.”

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Merrifield was banned from driving for 12 months for his first offence and 28 months for his second.

He was fined £200, with £190 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

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