Homeless dad stopped by police in South Shields while more than three times the limit in his work van

A dad was found by police to be three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit in the works’ van he called home, a court heard.

Thursday, 5th March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th March 2020, 10:19 am

Carl Gent, 38, of Dean Road, South Shields, was spotted by police driving the vehicle on the town’s John Reid Road dual carriageway at 12.55am on Saturday, February 1.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard they noticed the approaching motor due to smoke coming from the metal of a wheel touching the road.

Magistrates were told dad-of-six Gent had been sleeping in the Vauxhall Combo in laybys unbeknown to his employer after being made homeless.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Gent gave a breath test of 120 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

After hearing he had hit rock bottom but was rebuilding his life, magistrates banned him for 30 months.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “Officers were in an unmarked patrol vehicle driving down the John Reid Road towards the A194.

“Their attention was drawn to a Vauxhall Combo van that was coming towards them. Smoke was coming from the vehicle.

“They indicated for the driver to pull in. He was the only occupant. They could smell alcohol on his breath. A roadside breath test showed a reading of 125 microgrammes.

“As a result, he was cautioned and arrested and taken to Southwick police station. A procedure gave a lower reading of 120 microgrammes.”

Janice Hall, defending, said: “This was entirely out of character. I fully accept that the reading is high.

“There was a breakdown of a relationship which was in October. He was left homeless. He was sleeping in the van.

“He fully accepts that he was drunk in the works’ vehicle. He was stopped within a relatively short distance. As a result of this he has lost his job.

“From a positive point of view, this has triggered a support network. This is a man who had reached rock bottom. He does not have a car or any vehicle available to him.”

Gent, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was also given a 12-month community order with requirements of 10 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service and 150 hours’ unpaid work.

He must pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.