A MAN spotted getting into his car in a drunken state by an off-duty police officer thanked magistrates for saving his job after they spared him a lengthy driving ban.
Keith Butler appeared intoxicated and unsteady on his feet as he left Chichester Metro station, in South Shields, and got into his car, parked in nearby Dean Road on Saturday, December 13.
Butler, of Mowbray Road, South Shields, admitted being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal alcohol limit for driving.
Maimuna Bappa, prosecuting, told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “The officer saw the man with car keys in his hand, getting into the car.
“He approached the vehicle and knocked on the window.
“Butler had one hand on the steering wheel and his car keys in the other, next to the ignition.
“The witness told the man he was an off-duty police officer.”
Butler was arrested, and gave a breath test reading of 94mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, almost three times the legal limit of 35mcg.
David Forrester, defending, said Butler is the manager of a photocopying service company and relies on his car to get around for work.
Mr Forrester said: “He accepts that he would have been likely to have driven the vehicle.
“It would only have been a short distance as he lives round the corner.
“Any ban longer than a month would have catastrophic results for him.”
Magistrates gave Butler a 28-day driving ban and fined him £660, as well as ordering him to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £85.
After being sentenced, Butler said to the bench: “Thank you.
“I’m devastated about this. You have saved my job.”
Twitter: @ shieldsgazchris