Driver found drunk at the wheel in Sunderland car park started crying after being picked up by police

A driver suffering covid lockdown blues refused to be breath tested when identified as drunk at the wheel in a Sunderland city centre car park.

Gavin Ferguson, 33, was handcuffed by police after being removed from his Mazda at The Bridges shopping centre, a court heard.

Ferguson, of Hardie Drive, West Boldon, then failed to comply with a request to provide a sample – and broke down crying in the back of the police car.

But he also refused further legal demands when taken to South Shields police station, prosecutor Glenda Beck told magistrates in South Tyneside.

The Bridges car park, Sunderland

She said: “Information was passed by civic centre cameras in Sunderland and as a result, officers attended the Bridges car park.

“It appears that Mr Ferguson was attempting to leave the car park in a Mazda.

“The officers saw him in the driver’s seat, with the engine running. He was removed from the car and put in handcuffs.

“There was a strong smell of alcohol, his speech was slurred and his eyes were glazed. He was identified as drunk and was arrested.

“Police attempted to undertake a breath test but he refused to comply.

“He was arrested and taken to Milbank police station in South Shields.”

Mrs Beck said Ferguson then refused to blow into an evidential CAMIC breath test device.

The court heard Ferguson had a single previous conviction, for being drunk and disorderly in 2015.

David Forrester, defending, said: “This gentleman has suffered through covid in a number of different ways.

“He lost his job and had covid himself in December last year, and he suffered from depression during lockdown.

“Everything just seems to have gone one step too far and he’s gone to the Bridges and has attempted to drive his car.

“He accepts what the police say. In the police car, he started crying, such was his level of suffering.”

Ferguson, who pleaded guilty to failing to provide a sample for analysis, was banned from driving for 24 months.

He was also handed an 18-month community order with a requirement of 25 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

And he was fined £350, with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

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